Increasing food insecurity caused by climate change affecting Ghana’s economy

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Increasing food insecurity caused by climate change affecting Ghana’s economy.  Professor Marian Dorcas Quain, Deputy Director-General, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), says the increasing food insecurity caused by climate change is having rippling effects on the economy.

She said it was resulting in complex developmental challenges, including migration, leading to changing gender roles among rural populations.

She said climate change was having aggravating effects on Ghana’s economy, including the quality of livelihoods, stating that climate variability and change posed a severe threat to Ghana’s future growth, development and food security with rural inhabitants being most affected.

“Therefore, our policies must be based on sound research and informed by the diverse experiences and insights of our communities,” she added.

The Deputy Director-General said this at the opening of a policy symposium organised on the theme: “Advancing Evidence-Based Policy Through Effective Collaboration.”

This policy symposium is hosted by CSIR-STEPRI, in partnership with the International Water Management Institute (IMI) and support from the University of Ghana-Centre for Migration Studies, as well as the Simon Diedong Dombo University of Business and Development Studies (SDD-UBIDS).

This initiative is under an European Union funded project on the “The Resilience Against Climate Change-Social Transformation Research and Policy Advocacy (REACH-STR)” project – looking at climate vulnerability challenges in North East, Upper West and the Savannah regions of Ghana.

It seeks to support the government’s efforts in addressing climate vulnerability and social

transformation issues affecting the Northern sector of the country through research and policy interventions.

The project aims to build the capacity of project partners, students, researchers, among others, and ensure active community level involvement in developing social transformation research methodologies and data tracking modules and tools.

Professor Quain said, “in tackling climate change, we must employ evidence-based policy actions, such that policies and strategies were crafted through rigorous research findings to ensure that actions were not only reactive but also proactive, mitigating risks before they became crises.

She said by leveraging empirical data, could help predict potential impacts, allocate resources efficiently, and design interventions that had the greatest chance of success.

“This is because evidence alone is not enough. It needs to be translated into actionable strategies that are contextually relevant and culturally sensitive for Ghana,” she added.

The Deputy Director General said when faced with complex and interconnected issues like climate change, no single entity could develop all solutions, hence the need to effectively collaborate among and across all stakeholders, including actors to generate innovative solutions.

She added that by collaborating with policymakers, we strive to create an enabling environment in which informed policy actions could be formulated.

Dr Wilhelmina Quaye, Director of CSIR-STEPRI, said the project was built on the premise that “planning for a society without acknowledging the dynamics in its characteristics over time and probable future scenarios is a recipe for failure.”

She said the relevance of the engagement on the social transformation approach to development planning ensured that they captured and responded appropriately to changes in society as they sought to build resilience to climate change.

The Director of CSIR-STEPRI said the project was well encapsulated in the concept of sustainable development, rethinking the need to incorporate social transformation approach into national and subnational development planning systems in Ghana.

Dr Edward Asiedu,  a Development Economist and a lecturer at the Centre for Migration Studies (CMS) and the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS), sharing some of the preliminary findings said  out-migration was high in parts of the Upper West region.

“The major reasons are job opportunities, pursuing higher education, and marriage,” he said.

He said the study observed significant social transformations, particularly economic, demographic and technological factors.

“While there have been improvements in technology and increase in population and urbanisation, there is a decline in income, per capita farmland, and access to capital over the past 10 years.

Dr Charity Osei-Amponsah, the REACH-STR Project Coordinator at IWMI, who shared some results, said women’s access to land was expanding due to resource-pooling interventions like dry season gardening and FBO-acquired land, but control over land resources remained unchanged.

She noted that cheaper exchange labour had declined, limiting women to more expensive hired labour and were contributing more at home.

Dr Osei-Amponsah said through the Village Savings and Loans interventions, financial inclusion had improved among women and were able to access resources.

Source: GNA

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