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Regional News Mon, 26 Mar 2012

Farmers learn to adapt to effects of climate Change

Farmers and Community members in the Garu Tempane and East Mamprusi districts are being trained to recognize the effects of climate change and work towards improving the situation in their communities.

The training would also help them understand climate information, future changes in climate, implications for changes in hazards and risk, possible impacts, and identify situations they can cope with and others that they have to adapt to.

Some selected community members have been trained to read rainfall figures and given rain gauges to record the figures.

Mr Romanus Gyang, Project Manager of the Climate Change Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP) under CARE International Ghana, said the farmers were being trained in their communities by ALP on pilot basis to see how such knowledge could help them meet the demands of climate change.

They are trained to adopt new and diversified agriculture and pastoralist practices that increase production and boost incomes; and to deal with extreme climate events through disaster risk reduction plans, access to financial and environmental actions.

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Mr Gyang was speaking at a five-day workshop on climate information and communication in community based adaptation (CBA), organized by ALP for its staff, partners and community monitors, with representations from Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Ghana Education Service (GES) and the Media to understand climate information and its relevance and use in CBA.

It was aimed at bringing participants to a common understanding of climate change, common concepts in adaptation to climate change, CBA and terms in climate information.

The participants were taken through topics such as what causes climate change, responses to climate change adaptation and mitigation, key concepts in climate change, sources of climate information and basic past data analysis and interpretation and its relevance to CBA, among others.

Mr Gyang called on communities to take the initiative not to burn their farms and the vegetation, but to rather find ways to improve the environment. He cited many examples of communities in the upper East Regions where the chiefs and people took decisions not to cut trees or start bushfire.

Ms Maurine Ambani, Climate Science and communication Officer, who was a resource person at the workshop, advised the ALP trained community monitors and other persons who take data on rainfall figures to ensure that they recorded good and accurate data, saying wrong figures would influence decisions and plans adversely.

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“Wrong rainfall figures for example will inform farmers to sow early maturing varieties when in actual fact, the late maturing variety could have been better”, she added.

The participants had earlier on discussed the opinion of the elderly farmers in their communities and said they predicted good rains and good harvest for this year because of the severe and prolonged harmattan period.

They also talked about the early flowering of the ‘sibisibi’ tree, an indigenous fruit tree that grows in the North, saying, that signified early rains and early sowing that could be in April, whereas late sowing period was usually in late May.

They further discussed indigenous ways of predicting rains, when the rainy season is expected to start, its patterns and how long it will last. They said the migration of some birds, the intensity of mating of guinea fowls and when they start laying eggs, insects and some butterflies that lay eggs at certain times and the flowering of some local fruit trees, all told when the rains would start and how it would fare.

They, however, agreed that “It is no longer perfect but it works to some extent”.**

Source: GNA