ActionAid Ghana has recommended that the Northern Development Authority (NDA) promotes agroecology and food sovereignty in northern parts of the country, in order to mitigate the ever-growing threat of agriculture under-productivity and food insecurity.
Making a presentation at University for Development Studies’ Harmattan School, on the theme ‘Bridging the Gap between North and South; the NGO’s Perspective’, Head of Programmes, Campaigns and Innovations at ActionAid, Justin Bayor, posited that climate change is playing a major role in stifling development in the North.
“The North’s vulnerability includes the threat of floods, prolonged droughts, rising temperatures, unreliable rainfall, severe windstorms and other climate-related emergencies which are already negatively impacting agriculture and threatening productivity and food security,” he noted.
Fatalities due to floods in northern Ghana are reported to be alarmingly high and burdensome, and are usually occasioned by spillage from the Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso.
Indeed, between 2018 and 2020, 78 people were killed by floods; 23,371 houses were collapsed by floods, rendering 100,000 people homeless; and 94,379 acres of farmland was destroyed resulting in food insecurity for northern Ghana, according to data from the National Disaster Management Organisation.
Equally, the World Food Programme has indicated that at least three out of every 100 households in the north is either severely or moderately food insecure; and the poor nutritional status of children in the North is about double the national average.
Besides, more than 70 percent of northern Ghana’s population depend on unimodal rain-fed agriculture for their food, income and livelihoods.
The over-dependence on rainfall, declining soil fertility etc. coupled with limited access to inputs according to Mr. Bayor, has resulted in low agricultural productivity and incomes.
“It is estimated that for a period of 7-8 months in the year, most of the agricultural population in the North has no alternative or complementary means of securing their livelihoods – as infrastructure to support off-season agricultural activities is underdeveloped or non-existent,” he said.
The organisation also recommended that government should work swiftly to ensure women’s enhanced and secured access to and control of land and other productive resources, by lobbying and engaging landowners on the economic value it brings to women and their families. “We also suggest that the Northern Development Authority promote climate justice to address loss and damage by requesting supporting development partners to build the resilience of at -risk communities through the development and implementation of climate adaptation plans.”
ActionAid called on the NDA and other agencies to add their voice to the advocacy on passing the Criminal Offences (Amendment) bill 2022 into Law to close-down witch-camps in the northern regions.