Bush fires have been discovered as a main chance to the livelihoods of peasant farmers in the savannah parts of Ghana.
Among the year 2019 and now, about 3,000 hectors of farm deliver have been misplaced to bush fires, and all at the time when the deliver was due for harvest.
The result of this was critical submit-harvest losses to the farmers.
To aid mitigate the challenge, the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana has qualified farmers in the Builsa South District of the Upper East Region, in the avoidance and handle of fires on their farms.
Dozens of farmers at Fumbisi misplaced their rice harvests in 2019 and 2021 thanks to bush fires.
The Peasant Farmers Affiliation of Ghana, [PFAG] estimates that about 3, 000 hectares of farm generate such as rice, maize and soya beans belonging to some of their associates across the nation, were dropped to bush fires among 2019 and 2021.
Of the figure earlier mentioned, about 100 hectares belonged to farmers in the Builsa South district, according to the District’s Crops Officer, Abdulai Amadu who also claims rice is typically harvested all-around the thirty day period of November when the dry period is just setting in.
Hence, coupled with the onset of the harmattan, the spread of bush fires to the farms becomes rampant in the Builsa South District.
According to the Operational Officer at the Builsa South District Station of the Ghana National Fireplace Provider, Abdul Karim, rice is really flamable due to the fact when ready for harvest, the rice vegetation dry up and therefore melt away faster.
“When a rice farm is burning, it is like a fuel [has been added]. It is not uncomplicated to fight rice farm fires due to the fact when a seed of rice catches fireplace, there is [normally] a spark and it goes with the wind. So, the fireplace will be spreading quite fast”, he mentioned.
Abdul Karim indicated that through the dry season, they get a lot of phone calls at the hearth station about fires on rice farms.
“Sometimes, we are ready to get there and convey the fireplace under control and salvage the farm but at other occasions, thanks to communication worries, some people get rid of their farms [to the fire outbreaks] in advance of we get there” he mentioned.
Abdul Karim acknowledged that it was imperative for farmers to know primary recommendations about bush fire command through trainings this sort of as this 1 which was arranged by the Peasant Farmers Affiliation of Ghana.
About 100 farmers took part in the training which was facilitated by officers of the Builsa South District Station of the Ghana Nationwide Fireplace Service (GNFS) at Fumbisi.
The farmers had been properly trained in how to generate fireplace belts on their farms, how to use Fire Beaters and how to extinguish fires by making use of cocoa sacks.
Fireplace belts stop small fires produced by farmers in the course of the tilling of their lands from spreading to other parts of the farm. This is completed by clearing all the grass or crops encompassing the modest fireplace. The cleared place varieties a ring around the hearth, thereby stopping the fire from spreading.
Assistant Station Officer at the Builsa South District Station of the Ghana Nationwide Hearth Support, Eric Ingman who experienced the farmers explained if farmers have been ready to immediately produce fire belts any time a bush hearth spreads to elements of their farms, they would be ready to salvage the relaxation of the farms or at minimum, delay the unfold of the fires till the Fireplace Provider get there at the scene.
“Basic ideas like this will enable the farmers simply because sometimes, where by the fire services station is situated is much from their communities. So being in a position to create a fire belt will enable them manage some of the fires without the need of supervision right before the fireplace support gets to the community”, he mentioned
The farmers ended up recommended to make use of the Fireplace Beater in instances in which the fireplace is spreading extremely fast and there is not plenty of time to make a fire belt.
The Fireplace Beater is a easy software created of a extended wood manage and massive strips of leather-based at a person conclusion of it. It is utilised to place out fires by just beating the spreading flames.
“We just take out the oxygen [in the fire] by utilizing the Fireplace Beaters. That is named hunger [in firefighting]”, Ingman claimed.
He explained in the absence of the Fire Beater, tree branches with the leaves on them can be made use of.
The very last element of the bush fireplace prevention coaching looked at how the farmers could place out fires by employing cocoa sacks.
This is done by soaking the sack in h2o and throwing it about the hearth.
Eric Ingman mentioned this approach is advisable for cases of domestic fires.
He claimed in the absence of a cocoa sack, a thick blanket might be applied.
The farmers who took component in the education ended up energized about what they uncovered.
One particular of them, Richard Akanlu said he believed he had figured out new abilities from the coaching.
“Some years ago, they educated us about bush fires so I imagine with this [training], we can cultivate our farms devoid of leading to any fireplace outbreaks”, he stated.
The Peasant Farmers Affiliation of Ghana (PFAG) organized the schooling in partnership with the Ghana Federation of Forest and Farm Producers with funding from the Forest and Farm Facility of the Food items and Agriculture Organization [FAO].
Head of Plans and Advocacy for the Peasant Farmers Affiliation of Ghana, Dr. Charles Nyaaba mentioned even even though authorities has determined to devote in the area of rice manufacturing in the state, a person of the major factors which could discourage investors from coming into that sector is the danger of hearth outbreaks.
“There are decades in which farmers developed properly, the rice yielded properly and when it acquired to harvesting, they lost anything to bush fires. This can discourage any investor who desires to occur in”, Dr. Nyaaba mentioned whilst revealing that he turned a sufferer of these fires final calendar year right after he shed 60 out of his 100 – acre rice farm to a bush hearth.
Dr. Charles Nyaaba also discovered that the fires are typically prompted by possibly the farmers by themselves when trying to use hearth to do some operate on their farms or community users who usually burn bushes in order to hunt for bush meat.
He additional that myths also lead to bush fires mainly because in some communities, persons believe that ghosts cover in the bushes to haunt them and therefore, they burn off the bushes with the belief that it would scare away these ghosts.
“So, we organized this education to teach the farmers and also get bush hearth volunteers who will go on to do the job with the fireplace service to stop these bush fires” he claimed.
Dr. Charles Nyaaba also unveiled that the instruction will be replicated in other rice expanding locations which includes Yagaba in the North – East Area.