Ashaiman pupils cry over ‘toxic’ dump site near school

By: Elvis Washingon,

Pupils of the Ashaiman Presby A and B basic schools, are appealing to the Ashaiman Municipal Assembly to close down a major refuse damp which is very close to the school.

According to the pupils, they have no choice than to go home earlier than the normal closing time due to the smoke that emanates from the dumping site.

Apart from that, they say they have to put up with house flies in their classrooms as a result of the proximity to the dumping site.

The pupils who spoke to Citi News noted that, the situation makes learning difficult and uncomfortable.

“We don’t feel like schooling here anymore because we don’t like the smell that comes from the dumping site as well as the houseflies and the smoke. All the time, we have to inhale the thick toxic smoke and be killing houseflies with our bare hands. Our school uniforms are always smelly because of the problem we face here. Just yesterday one of our friends collapsed because the smoke was very thick and it lasted all through our school hours” they complained

A teacher who spoke to Citi News on condition of anonymity also noted that, they have petitioned the Municipal Assembly several times but to no avail.

He said “our school often than not closes the kids earlier than the normal closing hours because even we the teachers just cannot take the smoke and the stench from the site. Most of us teachers are contemplating leaving the school because our health is at stake”

Meanwhile Citi News has gathered that the pupils last week staged a mini demonstration when the Greater Accra Regional Minister Ishmael Ashitey paid a working visit to Ashaiman.

They appealed to the Regional Minister to as a matter of urgency order the Assembly to relocate the dumping site since it is having a negative effect on their health.


FDA Denies Poisonous Drugs on the Market

Accra, March 9, GNA – The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) on Thursday said, there was no poisonous drugs on the Ghanaian market as being speculated in the media.

‘The FDA wishes to inform the general public especially the media that the information is false and should be ignored’.

A statement issued and signed by the Acting Chief Executive, Mrs Delese A. A. Darko and copied to the Ghana News Agency said the European Union (EU) has not ranked Ghana as the sixth for fake drug producer in 2013 by the EU as being speculated in the media.

‘The FDA wishes to assure the public that adequate regulatory measures are in place in line with international best practices to ensure public health and safety and these measures are regularly reviewed to ascertain and improve their continued effectiveness’, it said.

The statement assured the public that the FDA’s laboratory was an ISO 17025 accredited and had the largest scope of accreditation in the whole of Africa.

It added that the FDA has a safety monitoring system for drugs (pharmacovigilance) which had been highly rated in sub-Saharan Africa and was part of a consortium designated as a Regional Centre of Regulatory Excellence (RCORE) in Pharmacovigilance by NEPAD and the African Medicines Regulatory Harmonization.

The FDA is also designated (by the same international bodies) as a RCORE in Medicine Evaluation and Registration.

‘With the stringent regulatory measures put by FDA, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has on several occasions recommended several countries on the continent to understudy Ghana FDA’s regulatory systems’.

The FDA said it has come to its notice that there were some media publications describing Ghana as being ranked sixth by the UU for having poisonous medicines on its market following seizures of fake medicines on the borders by EU customs in relation to suspected violations of Intellectual Property Rights.

The said publication is not only full of factual inaccuracies but also misleading and dangerous in that it seeks to create unnecessary panic and erosion of confidence in the ability of the local pharmaceutical industry to produce quality, safe and efficacious medicines; as well as the ability of the FDA to protect public health and safety by way of ensuring the availability of quality, safe and efficacious medicines in the market.

The seizures involved assorted products including luxury goods such as watches, sunglasses and clothing. Ghana’s bit was on detention of large shipments of batteries not fake medicines as alleged in the publication (Ref:



Germany commits €25m to tackle environmental impact of electronic waste

Germany and Ghana have agreed to strengthen their cooperation in the field of electronic waste management and recycling.

Seeing the environment and especially the recycling of electronic devices mostly produced outside of Ghana as a shared responsibility, the Federal government of Germany decided to commit €25,000,000.

This is to alleviate the environmental impact of electronic waste in the country and improve the working conditions of people in the sector.

The “Hazardous and Electronic Waste Law” passed in 2016 sets the legal framework for the German-Ghanaian engagement.

A statement from the German Embassy in Ghana said, “Germany wishes to use the opportunity to congratulate Ghana on passing this ground-breaking law, which translates the Basel convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal into national law.”

The statement noted that Germany will commit €5,000,000 for a Technical Cooperation program through the implementing agency GIZ, which will focus on improving the working conditions of workers along the electronic waste value chain.

The move will support the private sector engagement in recycling industries and also develop the framework conditions to implement the law.

“Furthermore, €20,000,000 (through the KfW Development bank) will be dedicated to the establishment of an incentive mechanism for sound collection and recycling of e-waste as well as for a collection centre of the Government of Ghana.

“Both elements of the programme are intended to prepare the establishment of the Ghanaian recycling fund as stipulated in the E-Waste-Law,” the statement added.

The commitment for the e-waste collection and recycling mechanism will be announced with the official handing-over of a Note Verbal to the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation on March 13.

The Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, as well as the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Ghana, Christoph Retzlaff, will be the keynote speakers at the event.



Essakyir T.I. Ahmadiyya SHS faces acute water shortage

By Afedzi Abdullah, GNA
Essakyir (C/R), March 10, GNA – The students and staff of Essakyir T.I. Ahmadiyya Senior High School (SHS) in Ekumfi District of the Central Region are facing an acute water problem, which is disrupting teaching and learning at the school.

Mr Mohammed Quantson, Headmaster of the school in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), described the situation as one that was unbearable for school authorities as it affected academic work.

The school spends about Gh¢900.00 every week on water and that, he said was taking a toll on the finances of the school.

He said the school has since its establishment not been connected to the Ghana Water Company’s system and appealed to the Government to help bring portable water to the school.

‘The only borehole supplying about 1,251 students and over 80 teaching and non-teaching staff of the school is very salty and difficult to use,’ he said.

Mr Quantson also mentioned the increasing student population as another problem and expressed fear that overcrowding in the dormitories could be worse, indicating that ‘it will be a great relief to us if the dormitory block is completed for us’.

Other challenges enumerated by the headmaster included inadequate classrooms, staff accommodation and poor road network in the school.

He has therefore appealed to old students, non- governmental organisations, philanthropists and other corporate institutions to come to the aid of the school.



Water still our problem – Abutia women

Abutia-Kloe, March 10, GNA – Women at Abutia-Kloe in the Ho West District said access to potable water remained their greatest challenge in the farming community.

The women said they walked several kilometres to fetch water from streams after one of the two boreholes provided by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) broke down.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency at a forum by the Department of Gender to mark this year’s International Women’s Day at Abutia-Kloe, the women said it was an odd spectacle to see girls and women going round the community and beyond in search of water around 0400 hours.

They said in most situations, they returned home at about 0900 hours with little or no water for use at home.

A middle-aged woman who spoke on anonymity said the problem was affecting their tie and dye and gari and oil processing businesses.

She said the situation was also affecting the education of girls who were tasked to search for water before and after school, some of whom fell prey to boys and men, increasing cases of teenage pregnancy in the community.

Madam Boateng Sitsofe Ama, Assemblywoman, Abutia-Kloe Electoral Area, said the over 3,000 people living within the area depended on one borehole.

Madam Sitsofe said those who fetched water from the streams had the laborious task of sieving and boiling the water to avoid contracting waterborne diseases.

Ms Comfort Ablormeti, Volta Regional Director of the Department of Gender expressed worry about the situation and called for the empowerment of rural women economically, so they could contribute more to national development.

The forum was themed, ‘Economic Empowerment of Rural Women: A Tool for Sustainable Development in a Changing World of Work’.



‘AAA’ plants 1000 trees in Maafi – Anfoe

Maafi Anfoe (VR), March. 10, GNA – The African Afforestation Association (AAA), a Non-governmental organization in partnership with the German International Cooperation for Development (GIZ) and other stakeholders have planted 1,000 trees at Maafi Anfoe in the Central Tongu District of the Volta Region.

The project, estimated at 43,000 Euros is jointly financed by the GIZ and the local communities.

The four-acre project being the first of its kind in Africa is utilising a ‘Water Boxx’ technology to grow mahogany, mango, cashew, teak and orange among others and had been pioneered in Mexico, Chile and Jordan with positive results.

The ‘Water Boxx’ technology consists of a water-holding box through which the seedlings grow and could water the young plant for a year using five litres of water, making it ideal for planting during the dry season.

Togbe Dra-Aboetaka IV, Chief of Maafi-Anfoe who offered the land for the pilot project said it would be extended to 50,000-acre afforestation within the various communities in the District.

He said the vision when achieved, would create employment for the youth, protect the environment, check erosion, stop de-afforestation and generate income to improve living conditions of the people.

Mr Gunnar Fischer, Director, AAA said Ghana had been earmarked by the German Government for its climate change programme and that the 18-month project would employ 1,500 people and benefit 17 communities.

He said Groasis, the Holland-based producers of the ‘water boxx’ system was optimistic of producing them locally to reduce cost and appealed to stakeholders to contribute their quota towards a successful implementation of the project.

Mr. Fischer said the afforestation campaign would be extended to the northern parts of the country.

Madam Dzifa Attivor, a former Minister of Transport called on all stakeholders to come on board to broaden the scope of the project.



CSIR releases five new varieties of Cowpea

By Joyce Danso, GNA


Accra March 10, GNA – The Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for the first time in history has released five varieties of cowpea through the exploitation of molecular technology simultaneously.

The varieties are; Zaayura Padi, Soo-Sima, Diffeele, Wang Kae and Kirkhouse Benga one.

Dr Stephen K. Nutsugah, Director of Savana Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) of CSIR who described the release of the five varieties as ground breaking event, said the varieties had three to four times higher yield than the other cowpeas.

Dr Nutsugah who made this known at the West African Cowpea Consortium (WACC) Annual meeting and Training Session in Accra for 41 participants said CSIR-SARI intends to release the latest varieties this year before the commencement of Ghana’s crop season.

The programme organised by CSIR-SARI and Kirkhouse Trust, a US based firm aimed at strengthening human and institutional capacity for cowpea research as well as providing selected infrastructure and equipment to enhance research capacity in cowpea improvement programme.

In Ghana, it is estimated that farmer yield of cowpea is 0.4 tonnes per hector however the new varieties are expected to increase farmer yield to 1.2 tonnes per hector.

Dr Nutsugah recounted that research into the new five varieties began in 2008 after scientists identified new sources of cowpea aphid resistant genotypes.

The Director of SARI noted that the new varieties were pest and disease resistant and would last longer.

He commended Kirkhouse Trust for bringing together research scientists and other professionals to create and disseminate international public goods that improve production and productivity that are pro-poor, gender equitable and environmentally sustainable.

Professor Michael Timko of University of Virginia, noted that over 75 per cent of cowpea production which took place in sub-Sahara Africa provided primary source of protein, income for small-holder farmers and contributed to subsistence crop farming.

However, he noted that the monetary loss in cowpea estimated between 100 million to one billion dollars annually was worrying.

Professor Timko said that was the reason why WACC and Kirkhouse Trust were building partnership to support cowpea improvement in West Africa through the use of molecular assisted breading and selection.

Dr V.K. Agyeman, Director General, CSIR commended Kirkhouse Trust for their increased and sustained support for research in Ghana

According to Dr Agyeman ‘CSIR-SARI alone has been a major beneficiary of a number of interventions since 2008 with an anticipated funding amounting to $656,333 dollars.’

Dr Agyeman said one of the major challenges of variety development was the expensive process and the long-time development process depending on the crop life cycle and breading strategy adopted.

In addition, the Director General noted that special skills were required to undertake the exercise.

He lauded government’s commitment towards developing agriculture and development of E-agriculture platform to address farmers needed.

Dr Agyeman said CSIR and Ministry of Food and Agriculture would work to ensure that cowpea was inculcated into government’s campaign on Planting for jobs.

He said transformation of livelihoods and reduction of poverty in West African Sub-region could be achieved if resultant low agricultural productivity was reserved.




One village one dam policy is key to agriculture growth

GNA Feature by Samuel Adadi Akapule
Bolgatanga, March 11, GNA – Ghana did not err when the country agreed with a group of African countries in 2003, under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, to allocate at least 10 per cent of public budgets to agriculture.

This was aimed at achieving six per cent growth in agriculture. One of the many good reasons for the decision is that empirically, it is established that agriculture contributes faster to poverty reduction than industrial investment does.

As a matter of fact, agricultural spending has wider redistributive effect than any other sector.

In Ghana, research has shown that at the national level, agricultural public expenditure has the highest returns in terms of agricultural productivity.

It is well established that for every one marginal cedi invested in agriculture, GH¢16.8 is returned. This is much higher than feeder roads returns of GH¢8.8 and GH¢1.3 for health.

In spite of this growing evidence of agriculture being the key in tackling poverty and transforming lives, the right amount of public investment is yet to be made in the sector.

In fact, researchers and think tanks including the Africa Centre for Energy Policy have it that agriculture share of public spending in Ghana is less than 10 per cent.

This is not only raising questions on the country’s commitment to the Maputo Declaration but also negatively affecting livelihoods.

Though very sad, it is not surprising to hear that the 3.6 per cent agricultural growth target for 2015 was not achieved.

Fortunately, the country has very huge potentials to grow and develop agriculture to the desired level, to accelerate development for improved livelihoods.

There are enormous agricultural investment opportunities in the country particularly the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone (SADA), which occupies more than 50 per cent of the total land space of Ghana.

The Zone has vast land for agriculture and could be targeted for total economic transformation of the country through agriculture.

According to the Ministry of Finance, if the production of tomatoes and rice alone were the focus of Ghana, the nation would have been saving $ 400 million annually.

Targeting the SADA Zone and other parts of the country with the One Village One Dam Policy for all year round cropping of tomatoes and rice and revamping the Pwalugu Tomato Factory and the Tamale Rice Mills for agro-processing and value addition is the surest way and probably best policy option to help the country save $ 400 million annually and achieve sustainable macro-economic stability.

There is no doubt that the introduction of One Village One Dam Policy will undoubtedly increase food productivity and security, meet agricultural sector growth targets and fast-track the country’s efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) particularly the goals on eradication of extreme poverty and hunger.

Another justification for the introduction of the policy is that, research has proven beyond reasonable doubt that the upsurge of climate change is having a great impact on food production and a telling effect on food security in the Northern Ecological Zone of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority.

History has it that in the 1980s, the Upper East Region used to have rainfall in April and farmers could get busy on their farms by the tail end of April and early May.

Those days, farmers got abundant harvests that enabled them to feed their families throughout the dry season.

But the question one may ask is that, is it the same situation today? Certainly no, the situation got worse after the 1990s when the Region started recording first rains of the year in May and June.

As if this delay was not enough, the rainfall pattern also became erratic thereby affecting food production adversely and causing food security problems.

Nowadays farmers in the area, particularly smallholder farmers, find it difficult if not impossible to feed their families throughout the lean season, which stretches up to five months in the year, before the onset of the next farming season.

The Upper East scenario cuts across all the ecological zones of SADA including the Northern, Upper West and Volta Regions, as well as some parts of the Brong- Ahafo Region.

The signs of climate change in the zones are becoming so alarming that if measures are not taken now, it would worsen the food security situation in all of those areas.

The provision of dams and dug-outs would not only help harvest rain water for agricultural activities particularly in the dry season.

It would also take care of the large volumes of water that usually engulf parts of the Region whenever the spillway of the Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso is opened, which often leads to the loss of human lives, animals and the destruction of farmlands and other valuable properties.

Rainwater harvesting is the accumulation and deposition of rainwater for reuse on-site, rather than allowing it to run off.

Its benefits include the availability of water for gardening, for livestock, irrigation, domestic use (with proper treatment), and indoor heating for houses.

In many places like the Guangzhou province in China, Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, Beijing (China) the water collected is just redirected to a deep pit with percolation.

All these are good lessons for Ghana to learn and to adopt. Rain water, which is a resource from God must not be allowed to go waste while we the country wallow’s in hunger.

To sum up, there is no doubt that the One Village One Dam Policy is the Key to Sustainable Agriculture Growth and Development in Ghana, particularly the Northern Savannah Ecological Zones.

The Government must be commended for taking a bold decision to initiate the move and earmarking GH¢94.5 million for the One-Village-One-Dam in the 2017 budget.

What is needed urgently is for the Government to facilitate the process by encouraging local public-private partnerships and also going into partnership with foreign investors to help the construction of more dams and dugouts as well as de-silting old ones.

When this is done it would help accelerate the transformational agenda and help Ghana to make significant gains in the achievement of the SDGs.



CSO Platform on agriculture inaugurated in Tamale

By Caesar Abagali, GNA
Tamale, March 12, GNA – The USAID under its Northern Ghana Governance Activity (NGGA), has inaugurated the Northern Ghana Civil Society Organisations Platform on agriculture.

It is aimed at strengthening CSO and private sector groups’ potentials for agricultural growth.

In line with the objective, the NGGA is supporting the revival of the Northern Ghana CSO Platform on agriculture, which URBANET, TradAid and CIKOD all local NGOs operating in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions are leading the platforms.

The Platform is a coalition of CSOs and private sector group and actors working in the agriculture value chain and meant to influence public policy processes that would improve agriculture outcomes in the north.

Mr Cyris Pul, Governance and Advocacy Specialist of the NGGA speaking at the inauguration ceremony in Tamale called for unity among CSO groups to ensure success.

He gave the assurance that the NGGA programme would strive harder to ensure improvement in agriculture growth in its operational areas.

He said the platform was expected to hold series of regional level CSO experience sharing and consultative forms to strengthen cross learning.

The NGGGA is a five-year project supported by USAID and implemented by a consortium of NGOs led by CARE International with Action Aid Ghana, WANEP-Ghana, SEND Ghana being the other partners who are working in 28 districts in Northern Ghana.

As part of Feed the Future, the US government’s global hunger and food security initiative, the NGGA works to fortify the co-ordination and integration of decentralised agricultural development and to promote responsive governance for improved agricultural development in Ghana.



Expect heavy rains from this month – Meteo Agency

The coastal forests and transitional parts of Ghana would experience ‘normal to above normal rainfall’ from the second week of March to the ending of July, the Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMA) has said.

The season would be characterised by lengthy dry spells, especially over the coastal and transitional belts, the GMA added in a press release.

It said for the West Coast, the mean onset date of the rainy season had been forecasted to be within the second and third week of March, with the range of expected rainfall over the West Coast being 1,000 millimeters to 1250 (mm), an increase of about 90 percent over that of 2016.

For the East Coastal Belt, it said the rains were expected within the second and third week of March. The range of expected rainfall amount over this region is 390mm to 490mm, an increase of about 10 percent over that of 2016, the release said.

The rainy season is expected to begin in the Forest Region of the country in the second and third week of March, with an estimated amount of 470mm to 600mm, the release said.

This meant an increase of 25 percent over that of 2016, it explained.

Within the Transitional Belt Region, the Meteo said, the rains were expected also within the second and third week of March.

It said the expected rainfall in that region was from 550mm to 690 mm, an increase of about 55 percent over that of 2016.

The Northern Belt of the country, however, would experience the rainy season within the fourth week of April and the first week of May, the release said.

It said the expected range of the rainfall amount over the region was from 1090mm to 1360mm, an increase of about 10 percent over that of 2016, with the estimated cessation date being the end of October.

The Upper West and Upper East Regions would also experience the rainy season within the first and second week of May, said the release.

It said whilst the expected rainfall range for the Upper West Region was estimated at between 960mm and 1200mm, which was 20 percent more than that of 2016, the Upper East Region was expected to have rainfall amounts ranging from 700mm to 970mm.

The mean cessation dates for these regions were expected to be about the third week of October, the release said.