(“Nature, to be commanded,must be obeyed”- Francis Bacon)
It appears all our attention is now focused and centered on the COVID 19 pandemic much to the neglect of some other essentials which keep us going as humans.
No wonder that in the Upper West Region 43 people lost their lives needlessly to preventable diseases like cerebral spinal meningitis (CSM) while there was complete failure of governmental machinery to avoid such needles deaths.
The easy way to avoid the blame by “care givers” was that they were busy tackling the COVID 19 pandemic head-on.
Lord have mercy!
In a similar fashion if something pragmatic is not instituted to save the “last hope of the north”(the Shea tree) the potential that posterity will judge us with harshness is all the more prevalent with us now than ever before.
LANG-ULLO is a farming community in the Jirapa Municipality of the Upper West region of Ghana. The nearest biggest town close to this village, LANG-ULLO, is Han.
The people here have now thrown caution to the wind and are now on a “rampage” cutting all Shea tree in sight to be used in the burning of charcoal for commercial purposes.
Mostly those engaged in this “environmental war” against nature are mainly doing so to export the charcoal to the southern half of the country.
The worrying aspect of it all is that the southern half of Ghana is well endowed with plentiful natural resources.
There is that natural luxury for farmers in the south to till the land two or three times a year.
Juxtapose this with the northern half of the country and parts of Bono and Volta Regions.
People here have only two seasons: which is made up of the RAINY AND DRY SEASONS.
In the Upper West Region and other four northern regions there is a long spell of dry season which could be akin to a drought situation lasting close to seven months every year.
And the worrying aspect is that the Shea tree and its Shea nut serves as a “buffer” in the fight against common place poverty in the Northern half of Ghana.
The question is:
Why would the same people whose livelihood depends on the Shea tree cut it for the burning of charcoal much to their detriment?
It is true that the use of the shea tree for the use of charcoal comes easy and cheap as compared to the drudgery associated with Shea oil extraction from the Shea nut. But Shea oil extraction is the best approach in terms of revenue and income generation activity.
I want to draw the attention of the MUNICIPAL CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE JIRAPA MUNICIPAL ASSEMBLY Madam Christine Amadu and the entire assembly that in the face of wicked pandemic like COVID 19 we should not lose sight of what is supposed to be protected our natural resources such as the Shea tree.
The Shea tree is yet to be “tamed” and be put on a plantation as done for cocoa and cashew to mention just a few.
As at now the growth and development of the Shea tree in the northern half of the country depends largely on seed dispersal by some animals, birds especially, who feed on the Shea tree nuts during the season. Human efforts to “tame” the tree on a large scale is not yielding any good result.
There has been little or no human effort to spread the tree in any form of plantation and yet human activity is the number one source of destruction of the shea tree in the Upper West and the other four northern regions.
The Jirapa Municipal Assembly and other assemblies in the region must deliberately make an effort to save our last hope (the Shea tree) from any wanton human destruction. This means tackling the LANG-ULLO menace head-on by the JIRAPA municipal assembly!
The Regional Coordinating council too in the region under the headship of the Regional Minister DR HAFIZ BIN SALIH, must ensure that something very pragmatic is done to save the Shea tree in the Upper West Region and beyond. This could be done by charging the various assemblies in the region to come out with “bye laws” to save the Shea tree from any form of destruction.
In some small parts of the Upper West Region such as Takpo in the Nadowli Kaleo district there are local “bye laws” preventing people from either cutting down Shea tree or destroying them for any intended purpose except those that are already dead by nature. This small attempt is yielding good results for that district and communities where the practice is effective.
So JIRAPA MUNICIPAL ASSEMBLY this is the time to act to save our Shea tree at LANG-ULLO and other places in spite of the presence of COVID 19 pandemic.
The entire world is languishing under the weight of COVID 19 especially economic losses. Here we are destroying the little we have just by some handful of some greedy and insensitive members of our community!
Let me end with a biblical quotation:
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities -His eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen,being understood from what has been made,so that men are without excuse”.
The situation requires an all hands on deck approach!!!