Ghana’s agriculture sector is expected to face declining rainfall and increased temperature across the country, a study conducted by a Ghanaian researcher in Cameroon, Dr Peter Asare-Nuamah, has revealed.
The study revealed that over the past years, Ghana had been receiving less rainfall and an increase in temperatures across agro-ecological zones, and according to available data, the trend was expected to continue.
The study dubbed, “Understanding Climate Variability and Change: Analysis of Temperature and Rainfall across Agro-ecological Zones in Ghana”, was led by Dr Asare-Nuamah, lead researcher from the Pan African University of Cameroon.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghanaian Times in Accra on Monday, he said the study sought to provide concrete evidence of changes in climate in the agro-ecological zones in Ghana, and to understand the extent of changes in Ghana’s agro-ecological zones and its impact on agriculture.
“The study showed that the savannah regions (Guinea and Sudan) are the most affected, which encompasses the northern half of the country where agriculture is heavily practiced,” he stated.
According to the findings there was a difference in the magnitude of change in temperature and rainfall across different agro-ecological zones in the country.
“Through analysing data collected from Ghana Meteorological Agency, we confirmed that existing studies showed that temperature is rising while rainfall is decreasing. Nevertheless, unlike previous studies, this study provided evidence of climate change from the perspective of agro-ecological zones,” Dr Asare-Nuamah added.
He however noted that despite how climate change had been documented in Ghana, there was scanty information on the extent of changes in agro-ecological zones in Ghana, even though these zones determined the nature of agricultural activities across the regions of Ghana.
On the repercussions of decreasing rainfall, he stated the country’s agricultural output would be affected as agriculture was rain fed and there would be an indirect impact on economic growth as the foundation of Ghana’s economy was agriculture.
He said, “The rising temperature will increase evaporation from soil and crops and will reduce the amount of water in the soil for crop production, which will then intensify soil aridity to the detriment of crop production, whereas indirectly, a changing climate increases the spread of pests and diseases among crop and livestock production”.
He cautioned policy makers at national, regional and local levels to accept that these instances were the result of climate change and was important to formulate and implement policies, programmes, and intervention (adaptation strategies) to reduce the adverse impacts of climate change and improve agricultural activities, adding that, smallholder farmers could also rely on the results to plan their agricultural activities.
BY FREDERICK GADESE-MENSAH