The latest report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a stark warning from scientists around the globe that human activity is damaging the planet at an alarming rate.
The report highlights that cutting global emissions, starting immediately, to net zero by mid-century would give a good chance of limiting global warming to 1.5C in the long-term and help avoid the worst effects of climate change.
The report warns that climate change is already affecting every region across the globe and that without urgent action to limit warming, heat waves, heavy precipitation, droughts, and loss of Artic Sea ice, snow cover and permafrost, will all increase while carbon sinks will become less effective at slowing the growth of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Like Prime Minister Boris Johnson reiterated: ‘the next decade is going to be pivotal to securing the future of our planet’. Extreme events are being felt across the globe, from wildfires in North America, Greece, and Australia to floods in China, across Europe, India and parts of Africa and heat waves in Siberia.
Ahead of the vital COP26 later in the year in Glasgow, Scotland, it is hoped that the major economies of the G20 who are responsible for over 80% of global emissions, will see reason and set a clear path to transition from fossil fuels to cleaner energy in order to keep the goal of 1.5C alive.
Some of Europe’s richest countries lay in disarray in July as raging rivers burst through their banks in Germany and Belgium, submerging towns, slamming parked cars against trees and leaving Europeans shell-shocked at the intensity of the destruction.
The bigger question is whether the mounting disasters in the developed world will have a bearing on what the world’s most influential countries and companies will do to reduce their own emissions of planet-warming gases.
The 2015 Paris Agreement was negotiated with the goal of averting the worst effects of climate change, global emissions have kept increasing. The ferocity of these disasters is as notable as their timing, coming ahead of the global talks in Glasgow to try to reach agreement on fighting climate change.
In light of this, the European Commission proposed laws to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2035, require most industries to pay for the emissions they produce, and most significantly, impose a tax on imports from countries with less stringent climate policies.
Is PFJ in danger?
All doesn’t seem to be going well for government’s agriculture flagship programme with the National Seed Trade Association of Ghana (NASTAG), the main supplier of seed inputs to government’s planting for food and jobs (PFJ) programme, threatening to hit the streets to demand payment for seeds supplied under PFJ.
According to the association, its members, made up of seven major groups are owed over GH¢7 million– a situation that has compelled their operations to almost grind to a halt. The members say all efforts to get their monies from the Ministry of Agriculture since the beginning of the year has not materialized due to lack of funds. The challenge has also resulted in inadequate supply of fertilizer to the seed growers since government still owes fertilizer suppliers in the country.
Double agony for the PFJ programme but our major worry is the repercussions of the current situation on food production in the future. The ripple effect could see high cost of certain basic staple foods in the near future.
Bearing the above in mind, the Ministry of Agriculture should urgently engage the relevant government institutions responsible for clearing the debt because NASTAG is unable to calm down its members, most of whom are agitated and ready to demonstrate for their funds.
CEO of NASTAG, Augusta Nyamadi Clottey has expressed worry that the authorities in charge are not seeing the repercussions of the current situation on food production in the future. She stated for example that the small holder farmers and peasant farmers across the country have missed part of the timelines for planting ahead of the rainy season.
Fertilizers purchased by the government with the taxpayer’s money which are allocated for distribution to poor farmers, end up in Burkina Faso and northern parts of Togo along the borders with Ghana, despite the closure of the country’s borders and the heavy presence of the various security personnel.
According to the Planting for Food and Jobs Secretariat, of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana lost a whopping GHS120 million from unaccounted for fertilizer, diversion of coupons and fertilizer smuggling in 2017 and 2018 planting seasons.
Farmers who invested heavily in farming activities in anticipation that government through Planting for Food and Jobs will supply fertilizers at subsidized prices have already started counting their losses as their crops turn pale and yellowish on their farms, due to the unavailability of fertilizer.