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29.04.2005 General News

Severe Famine Hits Upper East Region

By Times

A severe famine has hit the Upper East region, following the drought that affected the region in the 2003/2004 farming season.

The famine is so severe that some citizens of the region have described it as more devastating than the 1983 famine, which affected the country following the wild bush fires that engulfed most parts of the country. The drought has caused prices of foodstuff to rise steadily.

The farmers said the rains started very late last year. And when the rains started from mid July and late August most parts of the region experienced heavy flooding, resulting in the destruction of many farms and crops. The natural disaster was again followed by serious dry spells from mid-September, a period most crop such as millet, groundnuts and rice usually mature.

This caused the loss of the yield last year. Others have also blamed the short rainy period to the perennial bush fires that have degraded the environment and said if the practice continued, the region will continue to experience long periods of drought. The assertion has been proven true considering the fact that many of the big dams have completely dried up as a result of man's own activities.

In view of the severe famine, the people are appealing to the government to interview and buy staples such as corn, millet, groundnuts, beans, local polished rice to be sold at subsidized prices to the vulnerable and the needy.

Again the people are also making a special appeal to the government and the Ministry of food and agriculture, NGOs to construct more dams or desilt existing ones so that rain water can collect into them to enable the youth do dry season gardening such as tomatoes, okro, rice, corn, onions, as a way of curbing rural-urban migration. Additionally, the government should through the HIPC fund give micro finance to organised farmers' group to go into productive agriculture.

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