Monday, January 18, 2010

The desertification threat in Ghana

Basiru Adam in the Public Agenda (Ghana): According to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the greatest impact of desertification is in Africa. Two thirds of the continent, it says, is desert or dry land.

"There are extensive agricultural drylands, almost three quarters of which are already degraded to some degree. The region is afflicted by frequent and severe droughts. Many African countries are landlocked, have widespread poverty, need external assistance, and depend heavily on natural resources for subsistence. They have difficult socio-economic conditions, insufficient institutional and legal frameworks, incomplete infrastructure, and weak scientific, technical, and educational capacities."

Ghana is, indeed, no exception to this state of affairs. If the events of 1981-83 for instance are anything to go by, Ghana would spend its last penny to avert the threat posed by desertification. To recount, for the benefit of the uninitiated and perhaps those whose memories leave them easily, the aforementioned period experienced severe draught in Ghana leading to dire socio-economic consequences. People had to queue for uncooked Kenkey and other things in order to survive.

Slowly painfully, the country managed to recover somewhat from that extreme situation. But the truth is that desertification still looms large in Ghana today.. Some 35% of Ghana's total land area is said to be under the threat of desertification. Soil fertility is said to be in severe decline, posing increasing danger to agriculture.

…According to the EPA findings, a vulnerability and assessment done for maize, millet, rice and sorghum shows that the yield of maize, which is a main staple crop in Ghana would decrease to 6.9% by 2020. "This calls for a balance between our natural resources and the population if we are to preserve the environment for future generations. Certainly, with a rapid population growth of 2% much pressure will be put on food and water resources, as urbanisation increases."…

Agbozume Road in Ghana, shot by Ingeligtvoet, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

1 comment:

tony lovell said...

Imagine if we had a process to remove billions of tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere safely, quickly and cost-effectively - while at the same time reversing desertification, boosting biodiversity, enhancing global food security and improving the lives of hundreds of millions of people in rural and regional areas around our planet?

We do - it's called changed grazing management and soil carbon.

Please take a look at the presentations on to learn more.

Also take a look at this link for an interesting perspective on why most "solutions" to desertification fail -