Ghana — Mr. Asher Nkegbe, the Acting Upper West Regional Director of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has said bushfires were a major threat to the successful implementation of the Ghana Environmental Management Project (GEMP) in the three northern regions.
He said the Project, whose objectives were to strengthen institutions and rural communities to enable the people to reverse land degradation in the north through adoption of sustainable land management practices to improve food security and reduce poverty were being eroded by bushfires.
Mr. Nkegbe was addressing traditional authorities on the bushfire menace on the five years Canadian International Development Agency funded project at a workshop in Wa on Thursday.
He said bushfires occurrence was pervasive and extensive and that their affects on the composition and density of vegetation frustrated efforts at sustainable development and threatened future survival by contributing to desertification and general environmental degradation.
He explained that people of the north had found bushfires as the cheapest means available for clearing farmlands, to facilitate growth of new grass for livestock grazing and for hunting, control dangerous animals, insects and pests as well as clear large area for sheanut picking.
He noted that the success or otherwise of the implementation of the GEMP would depend largely on how successful bushfires were contained in the regions.
Mr. Caesar Kale, Deputy Upper West Regional Minister, expressed regret that some people burnt the bush for game instead of rearing the rats, rabbits and grass cutters and others all year round.
He said bush burning was not the best option for a region that was already poverty stricken.
Mr. Kale called on traditional rulers, religious leaders and assembly members to collaborate effectively to find appropriate methods and practices of stopping bushfires in the communities and to punish offenders.