The Bui dam project has affected the rainfall pattern in the Banda District of the Brong-Ahafo Region and is decreasing annual food production in the area, says the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA).
The worst affected predominant farming communities include; Jama, Dorbor and Banda-Ahenkro, where farmers are mostly engaged in maize, yam, beans, groundnuts and other vegetables, cashew crops and bee keeping in commercial quantities.
According to the MOFA, the communities could not over-rely on the erratic rainfall pattern, and recommended irrigation facilities to enable the farmers to increase food productivity.
Mr William Biah, the Banda District Director of MOFA, said many trees in the area were cut down during the construction stage of the dam and farmers in the communities were now faced rippling effect of the construction.
He said though the rains remained favourable this cropping season as compared to the last year, its severity was a huge challenge to farming. Mr Biah was speaking at a farmer’s forum at Dorbor in the district, organised by the Save Environment Foundation (SEF), an environmentally inclined Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) and attended by five farmer groups in the district.
He expressed discomfort about the indiscriminate felling of trees by charcoal burners and rampant bush fires, and advised the farmers to set up watch dog committees to bring the situation under control.
Mr Biah said the situation would worsen with serious repercussions on the economic livelihood of the people, not only those in the district but the region and the nation at large if the trend was not changed.
This, he explained was because the district contributed a percentage to national food security.
Mr Collins Osei, the Executive Director of SEF, underscored the need to enhance the adaptability and resilience of the local farmers to climate change through ecological farming in the area.
He said it was against this background that his NGO was implementing an 18-month project to promote sustainable agro-forest through alley cropping and woodlot establishment on degraded lands. Under the project, communities would be assisted with resource development programmes aimed at re-foresting suitable harvested sites, reclaiming degraded woodland, and afforesting denuded lands.
Mr Osei added that women farmers would also be assisted to adopt and practise sustainable livelihoods by introducing and assisting them to rear farm animals.
He urged farmers in the area who had not registered with any group to do so to enable them to benefit from trainings and other incentive packages.
Mr Osei also observed that with the formation of the famer groups, members could easily access credit facilities from financial institutions to expand their economic activities.