The Head of Earth Observation and Research Center of the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) in Sunyani, Dr. Amos Kabo-bah has bemoaned the cost and state of internet and fiber optics in Ghana. According to Dr. Kabo-bah, internet in Ghana was not affordable and reliable in any form or shape. He said this in a keynote address at a summit held in Sunyani which was organized by EORIC on the theme “Innovations in Satellite Technology for Sustainable Development Goals”.

He stressed the need for more investment in fiber optics sector in Ghana to make free flow of information and satellite data accessible since it was a challenge facing most institutions in Ghana, adding that if the internet situation in Ghana was well catered for, it would help government implement its policies such as E-governance, access to quality education and health care with the provision of information via the internet.

Speaking on the importance of satellite information to the nation, Dr. Kabo-bah said EORIC was setup to help collect data which were free from human errors hence the need institute a satellite ground station to monitor environmental changes to benefit the health, agriculture and educational sectors in Ghana. Dr. Kabo-bah opined that satellite data on bushfire can help solve indiscriminate bush burning, when the data gathered were analyzed and given to the necessary authorities for further decisions and implementations. He said agricultural policies such as planting for food and jobs can be sustainable if attention was given to satellite data on bush burning, adding that the agricultural sector had not developed due to the poor nature of data available for government to make better decisions.

The Pro Vice Chancellor of UENR, Professor Emmanuel Opuni Frimpong in a short presentation on the topic Using Satellite to Protect Forest Reserves in Ghana said satellite collected reflected energy from the vegetation to help determine the rate of deforestation in Ghana. He stated that satellite images could be used to determine timely spread of crop infestation by diseases such as the fall armyworm pandemic in Ghana. Professor Opuni further stated that since 1986 to 2017, satellite images had shown a drastic change in forest cover with massive indication of deforestation. He called on the government to help implement sustainable policies for afforestation.

The Regional Rural Fire Coordinator, ADO I Prince Baffour Gyau who also gave a presentation on Using Satellite Technology to Fight Fire Outbreaks especially bush fires, commended EORIC for their support with Advanced Fire Information System (AFIS) for monitoring rural fire outbreaks. He said satellite remote sensing had become a primary data source for fire monitoring, mapping and fire ecology research. Mr. Gyau indicated that fuel type maps from remote sensing data can be produced at spatial and temporal scales which were adequate for operational fire management. He said the Brong Ahafo Region was the only region in Ghana using remote sensing equipment for fire detection which he said that was possible with the assistance of EORIC.

Explaining how the AFIS system worked, he said the satellite was well situated to assessing the extent of biomass burning, a prerequisite for estimating emissions at regional and global scales which were needed to better understand the effects of fire on climate change that was a global issue. He said the information obtained from the AFIS helped the Brong Ahafo Fire Service Command to analyze bush fire incidents based on when and where they often occurred and make the necessary precautionary measures available.

Discussing the way forward of Satellite Technology Innovations, Dr. Kabo-bah said the EORIC will be rolling out short courses on satellite and remote sensing to enhance the knowledge of individuals, to manage satellite data and installation which will also create employment.