Ghanaians advised to preserve biodiversity

Professor Peter Kwapong, an Entomologist at the University of Cape Coast (UCC), has advised Ghanaians to change their attitude towards the environment, to conserve biodiversity for national food security.

He emphasized that fruits and seeds served many purposes in the lives of man and in the economies of countries, and proper management of pollinators (animals whose activities perform the eco-system of pollination) would improve on food productivity.

Pollination is the reproduction in flowering plants, through the transfer of pollen grains from the anther to the stigma.

Prof Kwapong, who is the National Coordinator of the Global Pollination Project-Ghana, gave the advice at a media training workshop on the Project at Dumasua, in the Sunyani West District of the Brong-Ahafo Region.

The two-day workshop was attended by 30 Journalists, drawn from the Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo Regions.

It was aimed at empowering the participants in creating a change in public awareness on biodiversity conservation through environmental education.

Ghana is selected among seven countries, to pilot the Global Pollination Project, which is aimed at improving food security, nutrition and livelihoods through enhanced conservation and the sustainable use of pollination.

Other implementing countries of the five-year project, which started in 2009, with funding from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Global Environment Fund (GEF), include Brazil, India, Kenya, Nepal, Pakistan and South Africa.

Prof Kwapong observed with regret that the attitude of some Ghanaians towards the environment was very poor and negatively affects the reproduction process in plants as the lives of pollinators were extinct day-in and day-out.

Pollination, he explained, helped to create clean environments that encouraged many organisms to thrive, thus, improving biological diversity of the environments in both aquatic and terrestrial terrains.

Prof Kwapong mentioned that bees, apart from being the main pollinators of crops and natural vegetation, produce and store valuable and in most cases medicinal hive products (honey, propolis, pollen, wax, venom, royal jelly).

He said majority of processing factories and industries obtained their raw materials from the work of pollinators, adding that fruit and oil processing, soap making and pharmaceutical industries depended on pollinators.

Dr Rofela Combey of the Department of Entomology and Wildlife School of Biological Sciences at the UCC, explained that the largest contributors to pollination of flowering plants were mainly insects, as they maximized the number of plant species in a given area.

Bees, she explained, contributed to about 60 percent to world cultivated crops, making them a major stakeholder in ensuring that crops were fertilized and fruits and seeds set for food security.

Dr Charles Annoh, a lecturer at the Central University, observed that Ghana’s ecosystem (natural environment) was richly endowed with large diversity of natural resources, including variety of animal and plant life.

He expressed concern about how the eco-systems were increasingly being converted to more human-dominated uses, to meet the compelling demands of human basic needs, such as food and shelter.

“It is therefore necessary to understand how to preserve the rich biodiversity of the eco-system in order to ensure sustainable use for the benefit of the present generation and posterity”, Dr Annoh said.

According to Dr Annoh, conserving pollinators in an eco-system meant preserving the essential links between plants and animals that ensured successful reproduction of plants.

He said uncontrolled human activities such as bush burning, misapplication of pesticides, deforestation, illegal logging as well as climate change, adversely affected pollinators population. GNA

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