Dr Ahmed Baba Salifu Director-General of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has asked African governments to provide resources for the management of Invasive Alien Species (IAS), which destroyed the ecosystem.
He said the IAS had been a problem in Ghana and should be fought to save the environment and indigenous biodiversity from the scourge of those problematic plants.
Dr Salifu made the call at a day's stakeholder's workshop on National IAS Strategies, Policy Guidelines and Action Plan for Ghana on Thursday in Accra.
In the Tano River and lagoon complex as well as the Volta River systems, water hyacinth and Kariba weeds have adversely affected fisheries, water supplies and livelihoods of the people living those communities.
“The weeds contributed to the prevalence of diseases such as bilharzias and malaria especially in the Volta River system where water hyacinth is a refuge for the intermediate hosts of the parasites”.
The Director-General said the management of IAS could not be effective without the direct contacts with the grassroots of the society and called for a national body to coordinate the activities of stakeholders to ensure discipline and sustainability.
He called for the need to complement donor resources to fully appropriate the gains and benefits of the people, the environment and biological diversity.
Mr Amoako Atta de Graft-Johnson, National Project Coordinator of the “Removing Barriers to Invasive Plant Management in Africa”, said the project, covering Ghana, Ethiopia, Uganda and Zambia to address the threats of IAS had identified barriers such as weak policy and institutional environment, inadequate implementation of prevention and control and lack of capacity building.
In Ghana, the project is being hosted by CSIR with support from the United Nations Environmental Programme, Global Environmental Funding among other institutions.
He explained that the Project had targeted water hyacinth and Pulp Mulberry for community based management at pilot sites on the River Oti's arm of the Lake Volta and within the River Afram headwaters Forest Reserve in the Offinso District of the Ashanti Region.
“Six and five species each of terrestrial and water plants have been earmarked for critical evaluation and attention countrywide”, he added.
Mr. de Graft-Johnson re-reiterated the need to form a national apex body to ensure the sustainability of IAS activities in Ghana after the end of the project in two years.
Stakeholders from the Volta River Authority, Water Resources Commission, Department of Parks and Gardens, National Disaster Management Authority, Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate, Customs and Excise Preventive Services, Friends of River Bodies and Water Bodies, Environmental Protection Agency, Ministry of Environment Science and Technology and the Ghana Immigration Service attended the programme.