Fire destroyed a silo packed with farm produce worth over a 100,000 Ghana Cedis and a one hectare teak plantation at Gbiligu near Walewale in the Northern Region last Friday.bushfire

Stored in the silo were harvested farm produce including rice, soya beans and maize harvested during the past five weeks from the Gbiligu Organic Farm.

Speaking at the site of the destruction, Mr Franz Zemp, an agronomist in charge of the Farm said even though he did not know how the fire started, he suspected that the harmattan winds must have driven bush fire towards the teak plantation near the silo, making it very easy for the place to go ablaze as the trees were dry.

The blaze could not be controlled by the farm workers and thus spread on to engulf the silo.

Also destroyed in the course of the fire were bee hives, a water pump and pipes, as well as a three-hectare natural forest that had been protected by the farm for more than 15 years.

Mr Zemp explained that the farm workers usually cleared up wide stretches of fire belts every dry season to protect the farm from annual bush fires, saying that even though this year was no exception, ?somehow the fire got this close?.

The Organic Farm was started 19 years ago with the aim of introducing organic and agro-forestry farming to residents of the West Mamprusi area, not only to make farming cheaper and more beneficial but also to improve soil fertility.

The farm produces organic rice, maize, soya bean and has many tree species including, mahogany, eucalyptus, acacia, sheanut trees and albesia.

Mr Maxwell Atenga, a farm worker, said he called the Ghana National Fire Service station at Walewale for help as soon as he and his colleagues realized that they could not do much by themselves, but the officer who responded to the call said they could not move the fire tender because they had no fuel.

?So it was after they were assured that the farm will pay for the fuel that they went and got it and moved to the farm but by then the harm had already been done?.

Earlier in the week, over 200 hectares of rice and a combine harvester got completely burnt at the Fumbisi rice valley in the Upper East Region.

Alhaji Ahmed Misbahu, Upper East Regional Director of Agriculture, in an interview told the GNA that the rice fields were cultivated under the Export Development Agriculture Investment Fund (EDAIF) as a pilot programme aimed at expanding the production of local rice for local consumption export.

He explained that the area around the rice fields had been burnt and ?so no one could imagine how the fire crossed over the burnt fields to get to the rice that was being harvested and destroyed everything including the combine harvester?.

Alhaji Misbahu said it was unfortunate that a pilot programme ended up in ashes, but added that it would not necessarily end the project.

GNA

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