The chief of Buru-Kazigu in the Kassena-Nankana West District of the Upper East Region, Pe Parekuri Thomas Aluah, has expressed worry about the indiscriminate cutting down of trees in the region by some individuals to sell to pito brewers and some caterers of the School Feeding Programme to prepare meals for school children.
Speaking to the Ghanaian Times at his palace at Buru-Kazigu on Saturday, the chief who attributed the emerging climate change conditions to the erratic rainfall patterns in the region, warned that if stringent measures were not taken to curb the spate of illegal felling of trees it could lead to a period where the region would record no rainfall for a farmingseason.
The chief said that formerly farmers in the region used to plant their crops as early as April and May, but noted that the trend had now shifted to June and July, making farmers to plant late and affecting crop production.
“This phenomenon of illegal felling of trees cut across the entire five regions of the north. What is even making it more frightening is that 2010 statistics available at the Renewable Energy Unit of the Ministry of Energy indicates that the five regions of the north are the most affected when it comes to fuel wood consumption with the Northern Region leading with 78 per cent, Upper West Region -75 per cent and Upper East Region 62 per cent respectively,” he stressed.
Whilst appealing to his colleagues chiefs to release lands for community members, particularly women to go into woodlots plantation to serve as sources of fuel wood, Pe Aluah appealed to the Forestry Commission to collaborate with all the Municipal and District Assemblies to enact bylaws to punish offenders of environmental degradation.
The chief also blamed the problem to the high cost of Liquefied Petroleum Gas and its accessories as well as the lack of the products in many parts of the communities in the regions, and called on the government to take active part in addressing the issue.
The chief commended the Organization for Indigenous Initiatives and Sustainability (ORGIIS-Ghana), an environment focused Non-Governmental Organization, for seeking funding from SNV, the Netherlands Development Organization to implement the Voice for Change Partnership Project, which had led to the Kassena-Nankana Municipal and Kassena-Nankana West District Assemblies mainstreaming clean energy into their Medium Term Development Plans (MTDPs)
He said ORGIIS-Ghana with support from the African Clean Energy (ACE) in Lesotho, the Green Way Jumbo of India, Environfit Ghana Limited, Econor Char and Econofire, had provided some improved cooking stoves at subsidized cost to some women groups.
He said most of the women from his community who benefited from the subsidized improved cooking stoves no longer travel too far distances in search of fuel wood, and there had also been significant reduction of cutting down of trees in the community.
He appealed to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and other development partners to support the local authorities in the five regions of the north to also mainstream clean energy into their MTDPs.
FROM SAMUEL AKAPULE, BURU-KAZIGU