By Yaw Ansah, GNA
Accra, Nov. 22, GNA – Stakeholders in development have expressed worry over the impact of climate variability on water and food security across African drylands, especially in Ghana’s Savannah, parts of the Transition Belt and the East Coast.
They said the phenomenon was affecting vulnerable members in those areas whose livelihoods were highly dependent on subsistence farming, pastoralism, and subjected to hydrological hazards.
These concerns were echoed at a national stakeholder workshop, which seeks to solicit ideas from participants on the subject, and build partnerships and capacity of local researchers to help solve the challenges to complement global efforts at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Participants were drawn from government and non-governmental organisations including the Forestry Commission, Northern Development Authority, Alliance for Green Revolution, Environmental Protection Agency and Ghana Meteorological Agency.
The workshop is part of a four-year UK Government funded project, called Building Research and Capacity for Sustainable Water and Food Security in Drylands of Sub-Saharan Africa (BRECCIA).
It aims at developing self-sustaining research capacity across institutions in Ghana, Malawi and Kenya, focused on improving food and water security for the poorest of society.
Dr Mawul Dzodzomenyo, a Senior Lecturer at the School of Public Health, University of Ghana, said BRECCIA had the vision to strengthen research capacity and capabilities in institutions to carry out impactful studies that would lead to positive policy and change for sustainable water and food security.
This is expected to benefit the 270 million people living in the Sub- Saharan Africa drylands.
With Southampton University as a lead, other project partners including International Institute of Environment in the United Kingdom, University of Ghana, Kenyatta University, University of Malawi, University of Nairobi and Waternet would support in achieving the project goals.
Dr Dzodzomenyo said the initiative, throughout its lifespan, would facilitate sustained research capacity within partner institutions and provide opportunities to self-propagate capacity to a broader set of institutions and researchers across Africa.
Throwing more light on the activities, he noted that it would engage in collaborative research programmes to advance knowledge in food and water security in partner countries, identify solutions to those challenges and produce a new cohort of trained researchers capable of leading and shaping the direction of future studies.
Professor Joseph A. Yaro, the Director of Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS) of the University of Ghana, noted that studies had shown that climate change could result in water scarcity, low crop yield and affect food security.
He said the agriculture sector drove many economies and climate change posed a great risk to the sector in terms of floods, droughts, rising sea levels, threatening farmers and businesses along the entire value chain leading to loss of livelihood and food insecurity.
Quoting from the 2010 Ghana Statistical Service Report, he said the agricultural sector, the largest employer of the economy, had been adversely affected by climate change and variability.
Prof. Yaro pledged the RIPS commitment towards ensuring the achievement of the project objectives and find mitigation and adaption mechanisms to climate variability.