Many farms and green vegetable risk bush fires especially at the beginning of or early parts of the New Year. It is therefore not surprising that bush fires are very rampant in these times where forest reserves for instance tend to suffer the effects of this canker.
In previous years, Ghana has lost about twenty four million dollars’ worth of timber annually to bush fire.
In an interview with Somanya based Rite FM, WOI (Rtd) Kwaku Ofori Asante, 2018 Eastern Regional Best Farmer disclosed that about 1000 acres of banana, cassava, plantain among other food crops have been lost to bush fire this year (2019) in the Kwahu East District alone.
The eastern regional best farmer added that personally, he has lost close to about GHS 60,000 worth of produce to bush fires this year.
WOI (Rtd) Kwaku Ofori Asante regretted what he calls the lack of unity amongst farmers which is critical in the fight against the canker. “The farmers here are not as united as they should be and they tend to fight each other rather than unite against this phenomenon,” he said.
Some causes of bush fires are uncontrolled bush burning, hunting, natural phenomena like lightning, farm equipment failure and many others.
Constitutionally, the Control and Prevention of Bushfires ACT – 1990 (PNDCL 229) states; ‘There shall be established in every town, area or unit a fire volunteer squad’. Mr. Asante reveals that the fire volunteer squad in the Kwahu East is no longer functioning and this contributes to the increased bushfire occurrence in the area.
In an attempt to combat this, the assembly man responsible for the area, the Fire Service and some media houses have been involved in sensitizing farmers and other individuals. It appears the measures used to combat bush fires have become obsolete. The onus falls on the various stakeholders to device more efficient means of tackling the situation.