Government lauded for efforts to address climate change in the agriculture sector

The Project Coordinator for the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) on climate change (CC), Dr Antwi-Boasiako Amoah, has lauded government efforts to address the effects of climate variability and change on the agricultural sector.

Dr Amoah, who is also a Deputy Director at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who underscored the importance of agriculture to Ghana’s economy, said the government’s commitment was evident in various policy documents.

The documents include the National Climate Change Policy (NCCP), the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (NCCAS), the NAP and the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which describe the country’s vision and plans at addressing the CC menace and guidance for adaptation plans.

Speaking at a workshop on “Building Agriculture’s Future Scenarios: Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainability Pathways,” at Sogakope he indicated that food security might severely be affected by Climate Change due to the reliance on rain-fed agricultural production.

The workshop was organised by the Agricultural Model and Inter-comparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP), in partnership with the University of Ghana, under the CLimate and REsilience project (CLARE) funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

The AgMIP is a network of over a thousand agricultural modellers worldwide with the vision to provide science-based agricultural assessments of CC to enhance sustainable farming systems.

Some of the objectives of the workshop were to engage with stakeholders in a learning dialogue about guiding priority setting of research and policy for agricultural development at the national level through CC adaptation planning; and identify research and development gaps and needs in the national CC adaptation processes.

He stressed the need for adaptation strategies that were evidence-based, cost effective and had multiple co-benefits.

A preliminary finding of a case study on the “Impact of CC and adaptation on livelihoods of smallholder farmers” in Navrongo in the Upper East Region, showed that temperatures are projected to increase by 1.1 to 2.7 °C by 2050 while the direction of change in annual total rainfall amounts remained varied.

A Senior Research Fellow at the University of Ghana, Dr (Mrs) Dilys Sefakor MacCarthy, explained that the results suggested that maize and sorghum productivity would decrease while the productivity of peanut was projected to increase mainly due to carbon dioxide fertilisation associated with legumes.

“Overall, the combined effects of CC and projected future socio-economic conditions may offset the negative impact on the cereals and lead to a decline in poverty rates under certain scenarios.”

“An adaptation strategy based on longer crop life cycle offsets the negative impacts of Climate Change on cereals, particularly maize,” she said.

The Deputy Director at the Directorate of Crop Services and Head of Environment and Climate Change Unit of Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Mr Kingsley Kwako Amoako, highlighted the inclusion of indigenous knowledge, gender and socio-cultural, and land tenure considerations in the selection and promotion of Climate Change adaptation strategies.

He said there was the need for modelers to develop models for the range of crops and crop varieties grown in Ghana, so as to enable assessment of the impact of Climate Change and potential adaptation strategies.

A Scientist from Oregon State University, who co-leads the AgMIP’s Regional Economic team, Dr Roberto Valdivia, introduced the AgMIP-CLARE project and the Regional Integrated Assessment (RIA), a protocol-based transdisciplinary approach to assess impacts of CC and adaptation on the livelihoods of farmers.

The workshop was also an opportunity to review three plausible agricultural development pathways or scenarios (Business as Usual, Sustainable development and fossil fuel driven development pathways) co-developed with stakeholders in November, 2020.

The drivers of these pathways will inform further socio-economic analysis and final results will be shared with stakeholders, media and the public in a final workshop later this year.

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