Date published: February 4, 2014
By Richard Atenkah
The activities of sand winners across the length and breadth of the country, especially in the Greater Accra region, is fast destroying fertile farm lands, which could be used to grow food to feed Ghanaians.
Areas such as Appolonia, Gbetsile and Katamanso in the Kpone-Katamanso district, as well as Okushiebiade, Akramaman and Yaoman in the Ga West municipality, just to mention a few, have had their fair share of the destruction from sand winners.
But a research conducted by a team of environmental experts from Development in Focus (DIF) and Global Environment Facility (GEF) has shown that local policies can be designed to effectively fight the canker, as well as protect the environment against such challenges.
The research, which was under the supervision of Mrs. Josephine Agbo-Nettey, Executive Director of DIF further showed that involvement of local stakeholders is key to solving environmentally related challenges, as it provides the platform and support for environmental activities.
The 20 months research project also brought to light the fact that indigenous people who have little or no education at all are able to play key roles in environmental sustainability protection.
The research, which was conducted through a capacity building project; ‘Restoration of Degraded Lands through Sustainable Land Management, Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Livelihood Activities,’ was done in three communities; namely Okushiebiade, Akramaman and Yaoman.
The research team held several meetings, using the bottom-up approach with key stakeholders in Yaoman, where their research activities focused mainly, including members of the community, chiefs, elders and opinion leaders.
The team also held meetings with officials of the Ministry of Food & Agriculture (MOFA), Ga West Municipal Assembly and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) operating within the environmental sector of the economy.
Other persons the research team engaged in a series of discussions were the Ga West Municipal Best Farmers between 2008 and 2010.
‘All these meetings were meant to establish and strengthen relationships as well as to solicit for their input and participation, assign them roles and responsibilities and to firm up their commitments for sustainability – community ownership’, the research noted.
Two management committees including land and fire prevention & management committees were formed in the course of the process.
Cultivation of tradable agricultural products and agro forestry, hands-on sessions on soil fertility improvement technologies and multipurpose woodlot planting were other activities organized for the local people during the process.
They also tried their hands on soil and water management practices, book keeping, nursery making, small animal rearing (grasscutter, rabbits, sheep and goat) and poultry.
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