Climate change: prolonged rains cut off access routes to farms in Busunu as produce are left to perish.
Farms in many parts of the Savannah region have received exceptional amounts of rainfall in the 2023 farming season. Excessive rain and the accompanying flooding have caused multiple of problems for producers. Extreme cases of the rains have also caused crops to be submerged in flood waters as well as cutting farmers off their farms resulting in devastating losses.
The prolonged rains this year (2023 farming season) as a result of change in rainfall patterns, has led to some farmers in Busunu in the West Gonja Municipality of the Savannah region to lose some of their farm produce. Farmers whose corn are ready for harvesting are not able to harvest due to the high levels of water on the roads leading to their farms. The farmers who have their farms across streams are compelled to leave the ready to be harvested corn standing at the messy of the rains as they cannot access the farms.
A farmer, Mr. Deseji Kesenaba who had his five acres of corn left in the bush laments his corn was ready for harvesting since August but could not be harvested because of high volumes of water on the route to his farm. He said “I was supposed to harvest my corn since august, but I couldn’t because even if I harvest them, I can’t carry it home. Tractor cannot go to the farm and if you make a mistake to harvest it from their husks and the rain continue to rain inside it, everything will spoil. Even fulani’s will send their cattle there to chop them. We’re just praying that the water will go down so we can take our food home”.
Another farmer, Ibrahim Musah feared some farmers will have to wait for another month to carry their farm produce home since the roads are still flooded. He predicts, there will be a likely food shortage in the area due to inability of farmers to harvest and preserve their produce. He said many farms in the area are located across streams not out of choice but because they need fertile lands.
He said, “we don’t know what to do now. Tractor can’t use the road, not even motorking, it will get stuck with the load. This is the first time the rains have exceeded September in the last ten years in this our area. No one thought it will still be raining by now. The rain storms have pulled some of the corn down, which means we will lose all those ones, unless you’re lucky they fall on grasses then it will be safe somehow”. Mr. Musah expressed surprise to the complete change in rainfall pattern this year (2023 farming season), making it impossible for harvesting even in the month of November.
Unlike the 2023 farming season, farmers in the above areas usually grapple with low crop yield owing to unpredictable weather patterns and poor soil quality. The rains sometimes start late or finish early or they might go on nonstop for months.
Speaking on how to adapt agriculture to climate change, an Agriculture Extension Officer in Busunu, Abraham Kwame Adu said the farmers in the area need to be educated on proper farming practices that can withstand the change of climate. He said the change in rainfall pattern this year was expected as the Ghana Meteorological Agency had predicted more rains in the Northern sector of Ghana. While admitting that, the prolonged rains have caused a lot of havoc to some farmers, he said adopting climate change friendly technologies can make life better for farmers. Mr. Adu noted that going forward, farmers should consider farming on high land to prevent situations like this.
“Farming across streams will always contribute to what is happening now, when the rains come unpredicted, the roads will always be filled with water and farmers will struggle to transport their farm produce” he added. He noted the only option in this regard is for the farmers to erect local tents on their farms to harvest the produce in. This he said will in the meantime save them from losing their produce.
Rainy season in the north
The northern part of Ghana typically records two rainy seasons, with the first one in March or April which farmers say washes away dead particles to prepare the lands for farming. The second rains begin in May and lasts until September. Harvesting begins in the month of October after the rains end in September. Crops such as groundnut are even harvested earlier in the month of September when the rains are inching to an end. The extension of rains beyond October is likely to cause destruction as it has happened in Busunu in the Savannah region.
Bush burning is a common practice in the northern part of Ghana mainly during the dry season. Several factors are attributed to bush fires including hunting. For this reason, Mr. Ibrahim Musah is worried they (farmers yet to harvest their produce) may fall victim to the fires as the grasses are already drying up. Though he said they are hoping to transport their produce home before the peak of the bush fires, he’s also worried if action is not taken now, they cannot escape the pending tragedy. Many farmers annually fall victims to indiscriminate burning of the bush as they often have their farm produce burnt.
Source: zaaradio.com/Jonas Biawurbi