GHANA – The Earth Observation, Research and Innovation Centre (EORIC) of the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) has organised a capacity building workshop on Advanced Fire Information System (AFIS) for the prevention of bushfires in the country.
The one-day event financed by the Skilled Development Fund (SDF) Project was attended by 60 participants, which comprised mostly farmers.
A representative each of other stakeholders included the Forestry Commission, Ghana National Fire Service, National Disaster Management Organisation and Afram Plains Development Organisation (APDO) also attended. The farmers were drawn from the Eastern Region part of Afram Plains, Bono and Ahafo, Oti, Upper West and Northern Regions.
APDO is a development-oriented non-governmental organisation that is into water, sanitation and hygiene capacity building, natural resource conservation, education and agriculture.
First out of series of workshops outlined under the project (AFIS), it was designed to solicit ideas and inputs of participants into the development of AFIS mobile application and alerting system.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in a post-workshop interview in Sunyani, Dr. Mark Amo-Boateng, the Head of the EORIC, said the Centre was established with the capacity to detect bushfires in the entire West African sub-region.
Consequently, he said the workshop besides other objectives was held because the project now sought to impart the information to those who were really affected by bushfires. Dr. Amo-Boateng told the participants that, the farmers were brought to impart to them information on bushfires.
But to achieve that, he added, the Centre had to obtain from them (farmers) their experiences with bushfires and “how they would want to receive information from the Centre about bushfires”. The EORIC Head indicated that pertained to the registration of the farmers and the location of their farms to facilitate accurate information to them.
Dr. Amo-Boateng further said to avoid the challenge of no network of the mobile phone operators at the farms zones, the Centre called for the inputs of the farmers to design a form of radio alert systems which would work in every area.
Dr. Amos T. Kabo-bah, Energy and Environmental Engineering Department Head of the University, in another interview told the GNA that the current project was leveraging on the first project (infrastructure for wild fire detection) to extend wild fire like bushfires detection to farmers.
Dr. Kabo-bah, a former Head of the EORIC, earlier entreated the farmers that their inputs were very necessary to deploy a robust system for the prediction, suppression and prevention of general wild fire in Ghana. Ms. Beata Akanyani, Programmes Director of APDO, described the Project and the workshop as “very innovative, interactive and inclusive”.
This, she explained was because the Centre did not restrict invitation to one region, but made it broadened enough whilst the selection of participants was not gender-biased and their respective views were heard.
Ms. Akanyani expressed the hope that it would assist immensely in ensuring a reduction in post-harvest loses and also going to enhance the capacity of the farmers to impart the knowledge and experience acquired on other farmers.
Professor Emmanuel Opuni-Frimpong, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of UENR, earlier in a welcoming address lauded the Project as “very significant” and urged participants, particularly the farmers to embrace and corporate with the Centre for the realization of Project’s short, medium and long-term objectives.
He noted it would be highly beneficial and consequently improve on their socio-economic well-being as individuals, families and communities.