The Volta Region has been identified as an ideal area for a large scale production of Kenaf, an herbaceous annual plant belonging to a family of cotton and okro, to support a vibrant and sustainable paper industry in the country.
The plant grows in only 150 days unlike the Southern Pine species used for paper production which grows between 14 and 17 years before harvesting.
Mr. Michael Miyittah, a lecture at the Environmental Science Department of the University of Cape Coast, made these known at a day’s workshop on Climate Change in Ho.
The workshop was organised by the E.P. University College (EPUC), Ho and attended by about 25 lecturers from the various tertiary institutions, media practitioners in the municipality and members of the public.
He said that the production of the plant in Ghana would save colossal amounts of foreign exchange for the country, create jobs and boost Gross Domestic Product (GDP), since every country was a consumer of paper.
According to Dr. Miyittah, the plant sometimes referred to as ‘false okro’, yielded more fibre per acre and required the use of very little chemicals in the paper production than the Southern Pine.
He said that although climate change was a problem it had also created new opportunities, adding that there was now the need for farmers to introduce new technologies to overcome climate change.
Earlier, a lecturer at the Department of Soil Science at the School of Agriculture of the University of Ghana, Legon, Professor S. G. K. Adiku, urged policy makers to commit greater zeal and resources to climate protection and stop wailing about climate change.
Presenting a paper on ‘From Climate Change to Climate Protection’, Professor Adiku stated that “we need a paradigm shift to sustain the world’s development while still keeping environmental degradation as low as possible”.
That, he said, required new agriculture technology and energy, new resource technologies, new energy concepts and new social lifestyles.
Professor Adiku noted that energy use in agriculture accounted for about 40 per cent of production cost with a large proportion of that being fossil fuel-based.
He pointed out that the burning of fossil fuels, contributed greatly to climate change and that underlined the need to find and develop technology that reduced energy use.
“We need to find and use alternative energy sources”, Professor Adiku added.
From Alberto Mario Noretti, Ho