By Dennis Peprah, GNA
Techiman, (B/A), Oct. 24, GNA – Bee Keepers in
the Brong-Ahafo Region have called for strict enforcement of Provisional
National Defence Council (PNDC) Law 229 (1990) to control bushfires in the
Section one of the Control and Prevention of
Bushfire Act 1990 states “except as otherwise provided under this Act, it is
unlawful for any person to start a bushfire for any purpose”.
But, the bee farmers noted at a sensitisation
meeting held in Techiman that because the Act was not enforced to the letter,
bushfires were causing extensive destruction to farms and collapsing their
economic activities as well.
It was organised by the Unity Bee Keepers
Association of Brong-Ahafo (UBABA) in collaboration with the Centre of
Posterity Interest Organisation (COPIO), a Non-Governmental Organisation and
Attended by bee keepers, honey producers and
sellers, the meeting formed part of activities of an advocacy project being
implemented by the Association with support from the Business Sector Advocacy
Challenge (BUSAC) Fund.
The project is aimed at helping to restore the
hopes of agriculture business by fighting bushfires in Brong-Ahafo, as well as
identifying and removing certain bottlenecks affecting the activities of bee
keepers in the region.
Mr. Kingsley Owusu Acheampong, the Chairman of
UBABA observed that by-laws enacted by Municipal and District Assemblies to
control bushfires were not making any significant impact, thus the need to
enforce the PNDC Law by prosecuting offenders and fire setters.
He said in the last major season, bee keepers
in the region lost more than 100 bee hives due to recurring bushfires, which
remained annual ritual in the region.
Mr. Acheampong pointed out that bee keeping
was a lucrative economic venture which had the potential to fetch and add to
the country’s foreign exchange earnings and appealed to the government to look
back and support the farmers.
But, he added that the devastating effects of
bushfires on their businesses and other sectors of agriculture were enormous
and thus required stringent measures and decisive action to control and prevent
Dr John Akparep, a Researcher, and Lecturer at
the University of Development Studies (UDS), observed that traditional method
of agriculture remained a huge contributory factor to recurring bushfires and
destroyed lands and the ozone layer as well.
Bee keeping, he explained had huge benefits on
agriculture, saying besides individual farmers profits, bee keeping enriched
the farm environment, build on and improved on biodiversity.
Dr Akparep explained that the project was
ready to collaborate with the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) to intensify
fire safety education in rural and fire prone communities in the region.
He said traditional authorities had enormous
roles to play in fighting bushfires and appealed to chiefs and queens to use
their traditional powers to enforce existing bushfire by-laws.
Mr. Charles Opoku, a bee keeper, called on the
government to strengthen fire volunteers by providing them with wellington
boots and other relevant logistics for fire-fighting and observed that because
many of the fire volunteers in the communities were handicapped, it was
extremely difficult for them to attend to bushfires.
Mr Opoku, who is a fire volunteer, said
because volunteers had no strong legal backing, it was difficult for them to
deal decisively with fire setters.