Mr Ernest Debrah, Minister for Food and Agriculture, has lamented the increasing effect of deforestation on Ghana's agriculture and called on all stakeholders to join in the fight against the menace.
Mr Debrah said in addition to deforestation, the disappearance of vegetative ground cover in general, posed a serious threat to the growth of agriculture in the country. 'Deforestation is proceeding much faster than reforestation,' he said.
The Minister made the call when he opened the 2008 International 'Promoting Local Innovation' (PROLINNOVA) Meeting in Tamale in the Northern Region last Monday. He mentioned human activities such as bush fires, woodcutting for household use, animals foraging on foliage and shrubs and mass clearing of trees for agriculture production as some of the main causes of the problem. 'In less than a generation, we have seen wooded environment literally disappear,' he said.
Mr Debrah said the renewed global effort to revamp agriculture under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADEP) under NEPAD and the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategies (GPRS) calls for African countries to rethink the issues of agriculture development.
He called for active collaboration to enable the nation meet the goal of halving the number of hungry citizens by 2015.'All efforts should, therefore, be made to protect the natural resource that can contribute to the achievement of our development goals,' he said.
Mr Debrah said no amount of external inputs like fertilizer could change the trend if Ghanaians did not learn to manage their natural resources more prudently. 'We need to understand that when we take care of the land, the land would take care of us,' he added.
The Minister said his outfit, through its extension delivery system, was engaging communities in serious analysis of the causes and effects of human activities on the environment with a view of coming out with community action plans to protect the environment for improved livelihoods.
PROLINNOVA, a Non-Governmental Organisation which initiated the programme aimed at building global learning and advocacy on promoting local innovation in ecologically- oriented agriculture and natural resource management.
Ghana is among 15 countries in the PROLINNOVA network and is hosting the 2008 annual meeting, from March 31 to April 4 to share views and experiences and to reflect on mechanisms to strengthen mutual learning on participatory innovation development processes between member countries.