Community Participation in the choice of climate adaptive measures is key to attaining food security

After every rainfall what we expect is a moist weather condition. However, this trend has given way to another dimension where a mix of cold weather and then warmth, follows immediately.

Farmers who rely on very conducive weather for 80 per cent of food production are at the mercy of the weather as growing concerns in variability in climate gives signals that more communities are obliged to feel most of its negative effects even though their contribution to climate change is minimal.

Heating of the earth surface is affecting the ability of the earth to support life on earth. The build up of green house gases in the atmosphere explains these conditions of warm and cold.

Growing population accounts for most of the exploitation of natural resources, but despite the increasing trend of population growth, it is the same natural resource people would depend on for water and food.

Global Population is expected to increase from its current 6.6 billion to 9 billion by 2050 and the search for more space to build houses, expansion of roads, land to accommodate and farmlands to feed the increasing human population and would continue.

As farmers battle with all kinds of challenges to cultivate the land for people to place food on the table for their families, there is the need for their involvement in the adaptation of modern trends of farming, at all stages of policy formulation regarding climate change, where they could share their experiences and knowledge.

Today, animal genetic erosion resulting in the reduction of bird and animal species continue to threaten human food supply in growing populations in developing countries.
Available statistics indicate that by 2050, climate change could result in the extinction of more species at a rate ranging from 18 to 35 per cent.

Foreign breeds of animals such as goats and sheep are introduced for livestock rearing for the purpose of cross breeding because almost all indigenous animals have become extinct.

Indigenous Knowledge:

However, farmers in the past had their own way of reading signals of early warning especially of heavy rains. By watching the prevailing weather conditions, they could tell whether there would be good harvest and increase in domestic fowls and livestock production. Also through the emergence of migrating birds or insects farmers could tell the weather pattern to enable them to adequately prepare for whatever was coming.

The same indigenous knowledge helped in determining drought and flood situations. With erosion, which results in the reduction of rich organic manure from the land, farmers applied indigenous know-how by using natural resources such as stones to check the incidence of soil loss, and stone bunds which also served as effective buffer against soil erosion. This basic indigenous knowledge on climate has been seriously ignored by policies introduced to offer solutions to the many climatic problems that occur today.

However, without satisfactory participation of communities in examining the incidence of floods, droughts, gas emissions resulting from climate change, people would not be able to come out with suggestions, different analysis, interests and actions of their own.

Communities sometimes tie projects related to addressing climate issues to politics. For instance, some tree planting and growing projects come along with remuneration in terms of cash and food to enable people participate. It is very easy sometimes to put a political tag on food or cash aid that come along with such local initiatives. Community participation in issues related to climate immensely helps them to take their own fate into their hands and helps them to become dynamic participants in the development of the country. This is because natural resources can only be protected when communities understand the effects of their actions on the environment and can together find solutions to them.

Challenges:

Though farmers and communities understand climate change influences on their livelihoods, they are also confronted with many problems. For instance, seed preserved for another farming season is consumed because of lack of food for the family during the lean season; poor germination of seeds due to drought; and insect attacks.

This year’s rainfall pattern in Ghana was projected to be erratic according to the Metrological Servey authority. The onset of rains for the farming season delayed for three weeks. Rainfall was expected in Northern Ghana from 16th to 23rd April, the transition period from 12th to 16th of April, whilst the forest belt, western and coastal belt was forecast at from 6th to 11thn of April.

The unfriendly climatic condition and its adverse effects on food production calls for more action to improve food security for the growing populations. Harvest of early millet in parts of Upper East Region this year though good, has been adversely affected by bird parasites whiles farmers looked on helplessly.

To ensure high quality of life for all, Ghana and other African countries should endeavour to eliminate or reduce unsustainable patterns of food production and consumption, and promote appropriate demographic policies. GNA

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