Business News of Friday, 15 December 2017
The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) is warning that the country risks losing its food basket in the three regions of the north if adequate measures are not put in place to mitigate the effect of climate change.
This follows a research done by the IEA which showed a decline in rainfall, and an increase in temperature in the regions.
Speaking to Citi Business News after providing details of the research, a Senior Research Fellow of the IEA, Professor John Asafu-Adjaye warned that there must be a pragmatic move to avert food shortage.
“If our farmers continue farming the way they have been farming, then the effect of climate change will affect food supply. If they use more organic and inorganic fertilizer, then the yields will increase instead of decrease even with Climate Change, it’s not a dooms day prediction”.
He added, “It will only be a dooms day prediction if we don’t take action now”.
He stated that government must put in measures to provide the necessary infrastructure for farmers to increase their produce.
He cited for example that, “if government takes action now by building dams, by increasing irrigation, building warehouses or storage silos, by building facilities to process excess produce, then all these climate change predictions will have very little impact because we will be able to deal the increase in temperature and also decline in rainfall”.
Touching on the reason why the research focused on the three regions of the north, Professor Asafu-Adjaye explained that the area is significant to food supply of the country but may be the worst hit.
“This particular reason we focused on the three regions of the north is because that’s where the climate change is going to impact more negatively. In fact, it’s going to impact in the whole of the country but the northern part will feel the brunt of the climate change because already it is one of the hottest areas and it is going to get hotter”.
Providing some historical background to drought in the country, Professor Asafu-Adjaye recounted that Ghana has suffered shortage in food supply due to the phenomenon in the past.
“There’s been several events in the last 20 or 30 years and some of you may remember the early 1980s where we had droughts as well as floods and the worse point of this period was in 1983 and the droughts also affected the whole country and if you remember that was also the year, the migrants from Nigeria was sent back to Ghana and there was a lot of starvation in Ghana. There was also another episode in 2007, maybe not as serious as the 1983 one but this sought of cycle can be expected to happen more frequently in the future as a result of climate change,” he disclosed.
“Northern Region we all know is among the poorest regions in the country and due to the location as well as other challenges. It is going to get drier, it is going to increase poverty and already the poverty levels are high but this could worsen with the effect of climate change” he stated.