Minister advocates use of bamboo to restore degraded mining areas

Accra, Mrs Patricia Appiagyei, Deputy Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, has proposed the use of bamboos to restore Ghana’s degraded lands.

Mrs Appiagyei made the call in her address at the SNV Netherlands Development Organisation’s Voice for Change (V4C) Partnership Programme Learning Event in Accra.

Bamboo can offer us some revenues, it is an alternate livelihood that those who engaged in the current galamsey can pursue; because what I am talking about, is the fact that the maturity of bamboo is just about six months and after cutting it actually grows back to life, she said.

It is something that can be used for clean air. It will also reduce desertification. And apart from reducing desertification, it can also be used to restore degraded lands, she added.

She explained that bamboo planting would help reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to the barest minimum, thereby helping to address global warming.

The V4C Partnership Programme is an evidence based advocacy programme implemented by SNV Netherlands Development Organization in partnership with the International Food and Policy Research Institute with funding from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The programme focuses on generating evidence and building the capacity of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the following thematic areas such as Renewable Energy, Food and Nutrition Security and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).

Ms Appiagyei said the robust energy sector reform programme commenced by the government sought to hone an efficient and sustainable energy sector for accelerated growth.

She said the fact that the government has given an indication of its willingness to sign thermal plants onto the Ghanaian energy establishes a new paradigm for increase investment in renewable energies.

On the use of traditional and open fire cooking systems, Mrs Appiagyei said: Charcoal and firewood, also known as solid fuels, serve a large proportion of Ghana’s energy needs for cooking and heating; stating that Indeed, about 74 per cent of Ghana’s energy needs are met by these kinds of fuel.

She said: The inefficient use of these fuels through the adoption of traditional stoves is said to account for the loss of about 13,700 lives annually with women and children constituting the largest number.

This is a worrying trajectory and requires the strong commitment of all for redress, she added.

She said while government would continue to increase investments in the promotion of clean cooking systems like Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG); improved cookstoves in the nature of charcoal and firewood stoves, would equally receive the attention of government for the benefit of the lower income class.

These interventions beyond saving lives will also well afford us the opportunity to save the forest from further depletion, she said.

It would also reduce the burden of smoke related diseases on household and save time that is spent by women and children in the collection of firewood.

On sanitation, Mrs Appiagyei said the creation of the new Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources gives indication of the government’s commitment to push forward the sanitation agenda.

Concerning nutrition, she said the novel Planting for Food and Jobs programme commenced by this government clearly aims at making this country food secure, improve nutritional status and reducing post-harvest loses.

Adding that this was intended to avoid the devastating consequences of malnutrition across the country.

Mr Ron Strikker, the Royal Kingdom of the Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, said influencing governments and the private sector could be best be done with proves and facts that something works or it doesn’t work; adding that this puts a heavy responsibility on civil societies to do their work well.

He urged CSOs to put their arch together, work together, join forces and coordinate their activities to make the maximum impact.

Dr Andre de Jager, the Country Director, SNV Ghana, said the V4C Learning Even was a kind of stock taking with their partners on the role of advocacy in the areas of agriculture, sanitation and water, nutrition and energy.

He said evidence available shows that the momentum was building in Ghana on the role of CSOs in advocacy.

Mr Eric Z. Banye, SNV Country Programme Coordinator in Ghana, said the V4C was built on partnership and SNV and the partner CSOs could not do it alone; stating that we wish to call on all interested partners to support and work towards a collaborative effort.

Source: Ghana News Agency