Business News of Friday, 20 January 2017
Farmers need to adopt climate-smart agriculture to ensure food security, a lecturer at the Department of Geography & Resource Development of the University of Ghana, Legon, Dr Kwadwo Owusu, has said.
He said the country’s climate had changed “and farming as usual cannot sustain the socio-economic development of the country.”
Speaking at the 68th New Year School and Conference,” Dr Owusu explained that the changing rainfall patterns in the country and the inadequate seasonal climate information to the many smallholder farmers were the major problems to increased crop productivity.
He was contributing to the topic, “ICT, Climate Change and Agricultural Production.”
Dr Owusu noted that Ghanaian farmers faced threats from poor soils, drought, erosion and pests due to the change of weather, and said agricultural improvements would, therefore, stem from information about pest and disease control, especially early warning systems, new varieties, new ways to optimise production and regulations for quality control.
He said Information and Communications Technology (ICT)-based initiatives when combined with an effective ICT agricultural policy, would ensure a viable, vibrant and modernised agricultural sector capable of providing sufficient and sustainable food and market competitive status for the country.
“Innovative ICT-based approaches, which provide advice to farmers on-line, and the promotion of mobile phones and community radio stations, have become valuable tools to provide crop information to farmers, especially in rural areas,” he added.
Dr Owusu said the mobile phone technology in the country offered the best potential for climate-smart agriculture as it was widely used, stressing that the mobile phone revolution could help farmers achieve the triple wins of climate-smart agriculture.
“Information and communication tools such as cell phones, the Internet, radio and television can dramatically improve farmers and intermediaries access to information relevant for rural households, agricultural production and agribusinesses.
These tools can be utilised to provide accurate, timely, relevant information and services to the farmers, thereby facilitating an environment for more remunerative agriculture,” Dr Owusu explained.
Climate change pattern
A staff of the Ghana Meteorological Authority, Mrs Francisca Martey, said there was a progressive rise in temperature and decrease in mean annual rainfall in all the six agro-ecological zones in the country.
She announced that the Ghana Meteorological Authority had started the publication of the “Agro Meteorological Bulletin” to help farmers to monitor the rainfall activities around them so as to plan properly.
The Director of the Institute for Environment and Sanitation Studies of the University of Ghana, Legon, Professor Chris Gordon, who chaired the session, urged the participants to find ways of turning the negative impact of climate change to sustainably increase agricultural production.