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Heavy rainfall affecting agriculture activities in northern Ghana: Study

study conducted by WaterAid Ghana, a water and sanitation focused organisation, has revealed that erratic and increasing volumes of rainfall caused by climate change is adversely affecting agriculture production in Northern Ghana 

Reports by Ghana News Agency show that farmers are unable to study the incessant changing weather conditions and rainfall pattern. This leads to wrong cropping time which results in poor yields, posing threat to food and nutritional security. Large volumes of rainwater without infrastructure to harvest also leads to flooding, causing destruction to farm produce such as maize, rice, soyabeans, groundnuts and vegetables among others.

The research, part of WaterAid Ghana’s water security and climate resilience advocacy plan, was conducted in four districts and the findings were made known to stakeholders in Bolgatanga. The areas include Bongo, Kassena-Nankana West and Bawku West Districts in the Upper East Region and Wa Municipality in the Upper West Region.

Dr Francis Bukari, a senior lecturer from the Department of Community, University for Development Studies, conducted the research with support from Dr Raymond Aabeyir, Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Business and Integrated Development Studies, in Wa.

Dr Bukari explained that apart from the irregular rainfall, farmers and communities could no longer predict the right time to plant and get good yields.

“The data we received from the Ghana Meteorological Agency indicates that there is an increasing trend in the rainfall pattern in these districts and as a result there is flooding which affects their farms, buildings, livestock and this has negative livelihood implications on these communities,” he said.

He said human activities, including deforestation, sand winning, bush burning among others, aggravated the situation as the top soil was being washed away while the small number of water bodies was being silted.

He therefore recommended that stakeholders, including the Ghana Meteorological Agency and experts in the climate change sector, engage communities especially those in Northern Ghana to appreciate the changing trend in rainfall and know the right time to plant to avoid drought, floods and harvest good yields.

Dr Bukari further noted that apart from the need for the Municipal and District Assemblies to dredge the existing water bodies such as dams and dugouts, more dams and rainwater harvester reservoirs need to be constructed to collect and store more surface water during the rainy season. “This will not only make water available to farmers for the dry season farming but contribute to curbing flooding and destruction of properties,” he added.