General News Wed, 12 Mar 2008

70% of Ghana's land under threat - EPA

Accra, March 12, GNA - Mr. Clement Eledi, Deputy Minister of Agriculture In-Charge of Crops, on Wednesday said about 70 per cent of Ghana's land was under serious threat of desertification caused by soil erosion.

Referring to statistics contained in a report by the Environmental Protection Agency, Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research of University of Ghana (ISSER) and the British Department for International Development, the Deputy Minister said unsustainable agriculture and land management practices were costing the country about two per cent of the Gross Domestic Product per annum.

Mr Eledi was addressing participants at a two-day workshop on Sustainable Land Management.

The workshop, which brought together stakeholders from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Local Government, Soil Research Institute, Forestry Commission, Food and Agriculture Organization, Environmental Protection Agency among others would discuss, finalize and adopt a report on Agriculture Sustainable Land Management Strategy and Country Strategic Investment Framework for Sustainable Land Management.

The reports were drafted by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency. The Deputy Minister pointed out that land degradation was seriously militating against the government's effort at poverty reduction because it was the poor who bore the disproportionate share of the cost of land degradation.

"At the centre of every development effort, be it political, social, or economic, is the issue of land. Land is meant for the living, the dead and those yet unborn. However, the management of this important resource over the years has not yielded the desired results."

Mr Matteo Marchisio, Environmental Specialist of the Africa Region of the World Bank, said Ghana had about 69 per cent of land degradation, which is higher than the average land degradation in Africa, which was about 45 per cent.

He pointed out that land degradation also had an impact on the economy of a country.

Mr Jonathan Allotey, Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, who gave an overview of efforts that had been made in promoting sustainable land management in Ghana since the 1900 to date, said no single institution could address the problem of land degradation.

"By acting through a joint work programme, partners can leverage their own efforts and organize and amplify their actions according to respective comparative advantage," he said. He said the collaborative approach to sustainable land management was people centered based on multi-partnership and responsibility encouraging participatory decision-making and management.

Source: GNA