ACRA, Ghana (PAMACC News) - Ghana is making significant gains in reducing greenhouse gas emissions through fuel substitution with improvements in the operational efficiency of the country’s electricity distribution system.

Villages, towns and communities are gradually substituting the use of wood fuel with electricity, according to the Deputy Minister of Energy, William Owuraku Aidoo.

This, he says, is the impact of grid expansion works carried out under the Ghana Energy Development and Access Project (GEDAP) as well as the Productive Uses of Electricity (PUE) activities initiated by the government.

“I am happy to note that the project has also assisted this transition to a low-carbon economy through the development of renewable energy for the expansion of access to electricity, where economically justified,” he said at the launch of the GEDAP in Kumasi.

Wood fuel is a very important energy source for Ghanaian, especially in rural households who depend on it for cooking and for small-scale processing activities.

With an annual consumption of wood fuel estimated at 16million m3, forests and wildlife are under stress of illegal logging, charcoal burning, wildfire and unsustainable farming activities.

These have climate change impacts that lead to the drying up of water bodies, land degradation and other environmental devastation.

Mr. Owuraku Aidoo says the GEDAP has the global environmental objective of supporting Ghana’s transition to a low carbon economy through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).

He noted the four project objectives of the project has significantly been met, including electricity access and renewable energy development, sector and institutional development, distribution improvement, and transmission system upgrade.

The Project’s development objective is to improve the operational efficiency of the electricity distribution system and increase the population’s access to electricity.

Implementation of the $210million project funded under the Global Environmental Facility started in 2007 and ends in 2019.

DOUALA, Cameroon (PAMACC News) - An initiative by a group of Cameroon youths to produce eco-friendly charcoal made from biodegradable household waste is not only helping to fight against mangrove deforestation in the coastal town of Douala, the economic capital, but has also reduced deadly floods and high youth unemployment.

According to Kemit Ecology, a non-governmental organization run by young people, the group uses household waste such as maize husks, banana and plantain peelings, fish scales, sugar cane peels and other bio-degradable waste to produce and sell 100% eco-friendly charcoal that replaces the growing demand for wood for cooking or heating.

“Producing charcoal from household waste to save the forest is an enriching experience for us,” Says Muller Tankeu Nandou, coordinator of Kemit Ecology.
 
The organisation says it has a group of over 100 youths employed to collect household waste from homes, markets and street gutters.

Some households supporting the idea also prefer to deposit their waste directly at the production site of the organisation.

Apart from employing youths, the organisation supplies bio-degradable coal to thousands of women selling coal in different markets in Douala and other towns in the country thus keeping women who otherwise would have been idle active.

“We work most with market women and housholds who are very collaborative,” Muller says.

The material gathered is later sorted, dried, compacted and burned to make charcoal. The organisation says its efforts are already helping to protect the mangrove forest and reduce the rate of floods in some parts of the city.

Environment experts say the coastal mangrove forest that has suffered over-exploitation and reduced by half over the last 20 years now have some respite since the project started some four years ago.

“There have been overuse and often illegal use of the forest by the growing population in Douala. Saving especially the coastal mangrove forest has become crucial,” says Samuel Nguiffo CEO of Centre for Environment and Development, an NGO that defends the rights of forest people in Cameroon.

With sensitization from the Douala city councils working in partnership with Kemit Ecology the fishing community and thousands of households in the over 3 million population in the city that hitherto used wood for drying fish and cooking are increasingly switching over to use eco-friendly coal, officials of Kemit Ecology say.

The team says it has considerably expanded production since they started in 2014. In 2014, they manually produced 12 tonnes of charcoal. Now, they have machinery and a factory, and, by 2016, had increased to 37 tonnes produced and sold per year . They envisage producing over 200 tonnes of charcoal per year by 2020.

A kilogram of eco-friendly charcoal sells at 300 fcfa, far lower than that of wood charcoal selling at 450 fcfa.

“One can save up to 25% and 40% of the money spent on firewood and charcoal respectively and above 50%with gas and electricity,” says Abu Wilson, commercial manager of Kemit Ecology
.
Using eco-friendly charcoal saves the environment in two ways he says.

“First, they are an alternative to firewood and charcoal. Secondly, the technology has increased agricultural waste utilisation, hence a cleaner environment,” says Abu.

Consumers say they prefer the eco-friendly charcoal that produces more heat and less smoke.

“I am at ease with eco-friendly charcoal because it cooks faster and produces less smoke,” says Agnes Ebai  who runs a restaurant in Douala.
The initiative by Kemit Ecology has won both national and international acclaim. The project in November 2016 was recognized at the COP22 Climate Change conference in Morocco, winning the Young Green Entrepreneur category of the Climate Initiatives award.

According to the ministry of trade, annual consumption of charcoal exceeded 300,000 tonnes in 2016 in Cameroon with supply coming mostly from wood in the forest, thus the need to encourage more production of eco-friendly charcoal to meet demand and protect forest.

Government says the initiative by the team should be encouraged and replicated to other regions where forest is highly threatened.

“Initiatives to protect the environment and fight especially youth unemployment should be encouraged and supported by the government,” says Sale Solomon, chief of service in the programmes department in the ministry of trade.

The head of Kemit Ecology says one of their biggest challenge is to have the appropriate waste material supply on a daily bases.
They are thus working in partnership with the local councils, households, fishermen and fish market women, business owners in market places where they distributing bags for collection of only biodegradable waste.

 “We have thus partnered with different stakeholders, shopkeepers in some markets in the city,fruit vendors who are supplying banana plantain peelings and other waste from fruits and food items for Kemit Ecology,” Muller says.

The youths driving the project say they are looking towards the future with optimism
 
“For us, the urgency is to provide a solution to the vulnerable growing population the mangrove area in Douala and save the forest is capital,” the project leader says.

GULU, Uganda (PAMACC News) -  Massive animal translocation is taking place in Northern Uganda as hundreds of nomadic pastoralists comply with a presidential decree evicting them from the region.

 On October 20th last year, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni directed the ministry of agriculture, animal industry and fisheries to evict the nomads from northern Uganda for among others interfering with food security of the people of northern Uganda. The President also wrote that the nomads threaten the peace of the north and the economy by practicing obsolete farming method. He tasked the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal industry and fisheries to introduce the nomads to sedentary forms of agriculture, paddocking and coffee growing.

 The presidential decree followed repeated calls for eviction by host communities who accused the nomads of grazing their livestock in their subsistence farms after failing to fence off their hired pieces of land. Other accusations include sexual harassment of women, engaging in illegal charcoal business, theft of animals and illegal possession of firearms as well as land grabbing amongst others.

 At least twenty trucks laden with cows belonging to the Balaalo leave the region for Central and South Western Uganda where the pastoralists initially lived with their animals since the ministry of agriculture started implementing the decree on March 22nd. The decree affects more than 40,000 herds of cattle in the hands of more than 30 groups of nomads estimated to number some 15,000 people.

 Edward Kamgaene, a pastoralist herding 200 cows in a rented area of Amuru district says government is not being fair to them by asking them to leave the north of the country within just few days.

“Government has been shifting the goal post all along. Initially we were told to fence our grazing land and stay. But today, we are being told to process movement permits, vaccinate our animals and leave. This is totally a different thing we were told to do earlier. How can this possible within a short time we have been given?” Kamagaene said with anger in his face.

 Kamgaene says his livelihoods depend on pastoralism in which he fattens animals before selling them to abattoirs in Capital Kampala. He is worried that he will not be able to fend for his family without practicing pastoralism.

 Kamagaene is one of the thousands of nomads who fled acute shortage of pastures and water in 2016 from South Western Uganda migrating up north to fatten his livestock in vast open savannah grassland inhabited by the Acholi and Lango ethnic groups. He says he is stuck with his livestock after learning that his home district is under quarantine due to Foot and Mouth disease.

 “I have 100 cows in Nwoya district which I should move to Kyankwanzi district via the districts of Nakasongola and Nakaseke and yet these districts are under quarantine for Foot and Mouth disease. How can I go to these districts to pick movement permits without infecting my animals? How can I take my animals where there is a running quarantine?” Festus Shaka Mutabazi, a pastoralist from Nwoya district stated furiously.

 Fred Munyeragwe borrowed a loan of 70 Million shillings for establishing his livestock project. He fattens his animal before selling them for money. He is so worried that he will lose his business alongside the land in Kiboga district he used as security to secure a bank loan if evicted from Northern Uganda.

 “The government wants to make us poor. You tell us to work and feed our families. Again you come to disrupt our livelihoods. The pasture back in my home district is still dry and we need an average of two months if we are to relocate back. We don’t need to be pushed as if we are at war with the local community. We are not. Tell those government leaders to give us two more months to prepare ourselves and we move to where we are coming from” he pleaded with government.

 Majority of the pastoralists, locally known as the Balaalo, come from the Ankole Cattle Keepers of South Western Uganda. According to President Museveni, some of them were expelled from Tanzania and Rwanda for practicing nomadism.

 They started migrating with their animals on trucks in the dead of night without proper animal movement permits from their districts in 2009 to fatten their livestock on leased pieces of land in the north where vast uncultivated land, abundant fresh water streams and adequate green nutritious pasture exist. By 2016, their numbers had increased to more than 25,000 pastoralists with more than 40,000 herds of cattle.

 Speaking with the nomads in Gulu (the Northern Uganda region’s biggest business hub) one week ahead of the eviction deadline, Vincent Ssempijja, the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries said government would like to end nomadism in Uganda due to increase in human population. He warned that government will not hesitate to use force against the pastoralists who would not comply with the presidential directive to leave the region.

 Ssempijja says “there is looming insecurity between the pastoralists and other people who do not want peace. We have decided here that we abide by the directive of the president to get the nomads out of this area. So we are giving it up to March 22 and everybody should have moved the cows from the northern part of this country”.

 The eviction delayed three consecutive times to allow the pastoralists vaccinate their livestock against Foot and Mouth disease. The agriculture minister says the vaccination exercise suffered multiple delays due to shortage of vaccine.

 “Initially, we could not vaccinate all the livestock we projected after we received only half of the consignment of vaccines we ordered for. Fortunately, the other half has reached the country and we are hopeful that it will be adequate to vaccinate all the remaining animals within the shortest possible time. In every fairness, everybody must accept to stop nomadism. It has caused a lot of problems in South Western Uganda. Animal diseases are so rampant” he stated one week to the commencement of the evictio.

 In Gulu district, some 1,000 out of estimated 5,000 cows were vaccinated while in Amuru district, only 5,000 out of estimated 14,000 animals got vaccinated.

 Patrick Okello Oryema, the Nwoya district chairperson where the nomads first settled says on average, seven large Lorries laden with cattle belonging to the pastoralists continue to leave his district daily for central and South Western Uganda.

 Dr. Charles Obalim, Gulu district veterinary officer says many of the Balaalo shunned the vaccination programme saying government wants to harm their livestock.

 “We initially targeted cattle belonging to the Balaalo pastoralists without those of their host communities. This was not well received by the pastoralists but we are telling them that cattle belonging to host communities were just recently vaccinated against foot and mouth disease. And I would like to reiterate that the vaccines are completely safe”

GULU, Uganda (PAMACC News) -  Massive animal translocation is taking place in Northern Uganda as hundreds of nomadic pastoralists comply with a presidential decree evicting them from the region.

 On October 20th last year, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni directed the ministry of agriculture, animal industry and fisheries to evict the nomads from northern Uganda for among others interfering with food security of the people of northern Uganda. The President also wrote that the nomads threaten the peace of the north and the economy by practicing obsolete farming method. He tasked the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal industry and fisheries to introduce the nomads to sedentary forms of agriculture, paddocking and coffee growing.

 The presidential decree followed repeated calls for eviction by host communities who accused the nomads of grazing their livestock in their subsistence farms after failing to fence off their hired pieces of land. Other accusations include sexual harassment of women, engaging in illegal charcoal business, theft of animals and illegal possession of firearms as well as land grabbing amongst others.

 At least twenty trucks laden with cows belonging to the Balaalo leave the region for Central and South Western Uganda where the pastoralists initially lived with their animals since the ministry of agriculture started implementing the decree on March 22nd. The decree affects more than 40,000 herds of cattle in the hands of more than 30 groups of nomads estimated to number some 15,000 people.

 Edward Kamgaene, a pastoralist herding 200 cows in a rented area of Amuru district says government is not being fair to them by asking them to leave the north of the country within just few days.

“Government has been shifting the goal post all along. Initially we were told to fence our grazing land and stay. But today, we are being told to process movement permits, vaccinate our animals and leave. This is totally a different thing we were told to do earlier. How can this possible within a short time we have been given?” Kamagaene said with anger in his face.

 Kamgaene says his livelihoods depend on pastoralism in which he fattens animals before selling them to abattoirs in Capital Kampala. He is worried that he will not be able to fend for his family without practicing pastoralism.

 Kamagaene is one of the thousands of nomads who fled acute shortage of pastures and water in 2016 from South Western Uganda migrating up north to fatten his livestock in vast open savannah grassland inhabited by the Acholi and Lango ethnic groups. He says he is stuck with his livestock after learning that his home district is under quarantine due to Foot and Mouth disease.

 “I have 100 cows in Nwoya district which I should move to Kyankwanzi district via the districts of Nakasongola and Nakaseke and yet these districts are under quarantine for Foot and Mouth disease. How can I go to these districts to pick movement permits without infecting my animals? How can I take my animals where there is a running quarantine?” Festus Shaka Mutabazi, a pastoralist from Nwoya district stated furiously.

 Fred Munyeragwe borrowed a loan of 70 Million shillings for establishing his livestock project. He fattens his animal before selling them for money. He is so worried that he will lose his business alongside the land in Kiboga district he used as security to secure a bank loan if evicted from Northern Uganda.

 “The government wants to make us poor. You tell us to work and feed our families. Again you come to disrupt our livelihoods. The pasture back in my home district is still dry and we need an average of two months if we are to relocate back. We don’t need to be pushed as if we are at war with the local community. We are not. Tell those government leaders to give us two more months to prepare ourselves and we move to where we are coming from” he pleaded with government.

 Majority of the pastoralists, locally known as the Balaalo, come from the Ankole Cattle Keepers of South Western Uganda. According to President Museveni, some of them were expelled from Tanzania and Rwanda for practicing nomadism.

 They started migrating with their animals on trucks in the dead of night without proper animal movement permits from their districts in 2009 to fatten their livestock on leased pieces of land in the north where vast uncultivated land, abundant fresh water streams and adequate green nutritious pasture exist. By 2016, their numbers had increased to more than 25,000 pastoralists with more than 40,000 herds of cattle.

 Speaking with the nomads in Gulu (the Northern Uganda region’s biggest business hub) one week ahead of the eviction deadline, Vincent Ssempijja, the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries said government would like to end nomadism in Uganda due to increase in human population. He warned that government will not hesitate to use force against the pastoralists who would not comply with the presidential directive to leave the region.

 Ssempijja says “there is looming insecurity between the pastoralists and other people who do not want peace. We have decided here that we abide by the directive of the president to get the nomads out of this area. So we are giving it up to March 22 and everybody should have moved the cows from the northern part of this country”.

 The eviction delayed three consecutive times to allow the pastoralists vaccinate their livestock against Foot and Mouth disease. The agriculture minister says the vaccination exercise suffered multiple delays due to shortage of vaccine.

 “Initially, we could not vaccinate all the livestock we projected after we received only half of the consignment of vaccines we ordered for. Fortunately, the other half has reached the country and we are hopeful that it will be adequate to vaccinate all the remaining animals within the shortest possible time. In every fairness, everybody must accept to stop nomadism. It has caused a lot of problems in South Western Uganda. Animal diseases are so rampant” he stated one week to the commencement of the evictio.

 In Gulu district, some 1,000 out of estimated 5,000 cows were vaccinated while in Amuru district, only 5,000 out of estimated 14,000 animals got vaccinated.

 Patrick Okello Oryema, the Nwoya district chairperson where the nomads first settled says on average, seven large Lorries laden with cattle belonging to the pastoralists continue to leave his district daily for central and South Western Uganda.

 Dr. Charles Obalim, Gulu district veterinary officer says many of the Balaalo shunned the vaccination programme saying government wants to harm their livestock.

 “We initially targeted cattle belonging to the Balaalo pastoralists without those of their host communities. This was not well received by the pastoralists but we are telling them that cattle belonging to host communities were just recently vaccinated against foot and mouth disease. And I would like to reiterate that the vaccines are completely safe”

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