Dr  Alfred Sugri Tia

Dr Alfred Sugri Tia

Government has lamented the alarming number of Ghanaians being forced out of their homes in the Northern part of Ghana to relocate to the South following the spread of the Sahara Desert to their farmlands.

Deputy Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Alfred Sugri Tia, has disclosed that a more disturbing issue is a revelation by experts that the encroachment by the desert is spreading gradually to the south itself and, if nothing is done to confront it immediately, it would take over the entire country and plunge it into a spectrum of crises including drought and food shortage. “For now, the swelling Sahara Desert looks unstoppable largely because humans defiantly and unconsciously are still neck-deep in the activities known to be bedfellows to desertification: rampant bush burning and illegal logging among other major factors. Farms in northern Ghana are failing amid a rain scarcity prolonged in areas once celebrated as fruitful but now lamented as barren’’, he said.

According to him, desertification has become a major environmental hazard throwing thousands of people out of their livelihoods in many third-world countries particularly in the Sahel region of Africa. “The effect of the encroachment of the desert in northern parts of Ghana is alarming. Changes in rainfall patterns and climate in recent times have devastated the lands, leaving several hectares of scorched farmlands, lean livestock, dry water reservoirs and rivers, impoverishing the population and threatening food security and livelihoods,” Dr. Tia observed.

He continued: “Already, poverty, hunger, diseases and unemployment have begun to force hundreds of people, male and female, from Upper East, Upper West and Northern regions to urban centres in the south as a result of the loss of agricultural farmlands and reduced agricultural productivity.”

The Minister made the revelations when hundreds of Ghanaians gathered on June 17 in the Bongo District of the Upper East Region to mark the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.

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