Challenge of Agricultural Land Degradation in Ghana

Agricultural Land Degradation in Ghana

The worldwide issue of degraded land has a devastating effect on Ghana. Ghana has a serious degradation problem since so many people there rely on the country’s natural resources for survival. Forest landscape deterioration in Ghana is attributed to a number of factors including mining, infrastructural and urban growth, fuelwood collection, charcoal manufacture, subsistence agriculture, illicit logging, hunting, uncontrolled fire, and animal overgrazing. The Degradation of Land Large areas of once-fertile agriculture in Ghana have been turned useless, adding to the country’s diminishing revenue and food supplies. As a consequence of land degradation, natural water sources are drying up as a result of extended droughts and sedimentation of water channels, and grasslands, woods, and forests are disappearing.

Causes of land degradation

Natural causes and human activity both contribute to deterioration. Soil deterioration is seen to be a result of poverty and a contributor to it in Ghana. Extreme complexity underlies the connection between poverty and ecosystems. There is little question that degradation exacerbates poverty, particularly among the rural people of Ghana, and that poverty is a major factor in degradation. The poor production of many farmers in the nation, particularly those who farm for a subsistence living, is a result of the traditional nature of agricultural practices and an overreliance on favorable meteorological conditions. Because of this, many farmers resort to cutting down trees and other plants to use as firewood, sell as building materials, etc. Most rural areas have given up cultivation for illicit mining.

One of the primary direct causes of soil degradation in Ghana is deforestation, which is also one of the most detrimental forms of natural resource degradation in the nation. Most people in rural areas depend on agriculture and wood products for income; as the population grows, the need for agricultural land and wood products (such as fuel wood, firewood, charcoal, etc.) rises. Unsustainable logging methods and indiscriminate fuel wood extraction have persisted despite the lax implementation of legislation governing the access to and use of forestry products. Without any kind of vegetation to act as a buffer, the land or soil is very vulnerable to erosion.

In the context of a rapidly expanding human and animal population, the traditional farming system has been shown to be unsustainable due to its reliance on the annual slash-and-burn clearing of forests and grasslands, and the rotation of cultivated fields over the course of years. Soil deterioration in the nation has been exacerbated by a lack of sustainable soil and water conservation measures and external nitrogen replenishment procedures. Consequently, soil nutrients, organic matter, and other chemical processes deplete with time, and productivity and crop yields fall.

Interventions and Recommendations

Soil erosion is a worldwide problem, but its effects may be lessened with the use of Sustainable Land Management (SLM) techniques. The goal of sustainable land management (SLM) is to maximize economic and social advantages from land via the use of land use systems that employ suitable management methods to preserve or improve the ecological support functions of land resources without compromising those benefits. Sustainable land management (SLM) refers to practices used in agriculture to keep the soil productive over the long term. Soil and water conservation practices (including agronomic, soil management, and physical measures like contour ridging, terracing, tied ridges, mulching, using plants as ground cover, and leaving crop residues) must be used in conjunction with fertilizer applications (both mineral and organic) to achieve this goal. Some common policy interventions and strategies are:

  • We need to create a strategy for the preservation of open space in the far future. These long-term plans should be crafted to meet the specific needs and requirements of each area, with guidance from three core principles: enhancing land use, engaging land users in the process, and building the requisite institutional capabilities and support;
  • Examining the economics of land use policy and adjusting it as needed to promote profitable and sustainable land use rather than damaging and unsustainable agricultural practices;
  • The generation of budgetary surpluses, which may be used to compensate farmers for their acute poverty by decreasing government support for agricultural supplies and agricultural machinery;
  • Investment and study into sustainable agricultural technology and agricultural machinery should be increased. Given that soil is a relatively finite resource, it’s crucial to adopt practices that help preserve its long-term viability.

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