The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Tuesday launched a climate change project aimed at addressing the climate change menace and its impact on agriculture.
The project dubbed: “Support transition towards climate smart agriculture and food systems” is to support the efforts at addressing the challenges posed by climate change.
It was also an Economic Community of West African States regional programme aimed at supporting nine West African countries, with the objective to systemically transit to climate-smart agriculture, based on their national circumstance.
The Norwegian government is funding the project with 1.3 million dollars with the FAO coordinating the project among the beneficiary countries
Mr Joseph Boamah, Chief Director, MOFA in a speech read on his behalf said climate change has become one of the biggest challenges of the century, threatening the survival of humans and plants.
He said Ghana has been identified as one of the countries highly vulnerable to climate change and that over the past few years, the country has had practical manifestations and direct effects of climate change.
Mr Boamah recounted the Northern floods in 2007, which directly affected a total of 317,000 people, destroyed 1,000 kilometers of roads, affected 210 schools, damaged 45 healthcare facilities and contaminated 630 drinking water facilities leading to the loss of crops and livestock among others.
He said studies on weather and the climate on Ghana revealed that between the years 1951 and 2010, the average daily temperature increased by one degree Celsius, adding, “increases in temperature will affect productivity of crops and livestock in general.”
The Chief Director explained that the country was already experiencing the impact of climate change on its food security situation.
He, therefore, called for political commitment and pragmatic technical efforts with needed financial resources to address the climate change in the country.
He said government, recognizing the negative impact of climate change on the national economy, has taken the necessary steps to tackle the situation.
Dr Abebe Haile-Gabriel, FAO Ghana Representative and Deputy Regional Representative for Africa, said the two main objectives to support the facilitation of the enabling environment for the scaling-up of Climate-Smart Agriculture through capacity building across the different institutions at all levels.
He said it was also to assist the emergence of agricultural food systems that were more climate-smart through improved coordination and alignment of policies, strategies and investment frameworks.
He said farmers have become more impoverished as a result of climate change and there was the need to ensure that measure were put in place to help increase productivity and sustain the livelihood of their families.
He emphasized on the need to build resilience to climate change and ensure that the lives of smallholder farmers were transformed to enable them grow the food needed to feed the world’s population.
He said the proposed duration for the project was two years to be carried out among nine countries, indicating that information available to him showed that Ghana has already taken the lead and today’s event was a step that would further put the nation ahead of other countries.
“We will succeed in creating the enabling environment and sustainable food systems if we tackle issues of agriculture whiles looking at social protection at the same time,” he said.
He expressed the hope that the support would grow to a higher level to ensure that rural farmers build their resilience to withstand any shocks that may come, and “I know that through this workshop we will all contribute our best to support this dream which is achievable.”