By Alex Baah Boadi, GNA
Sefwi-Waiwso(W/N), June 18, GNA-A non-governmental organisation, « Rainforest Alliance » with support from the European Union(EU) has launched a » Landscape and Environmental Agility Across the Nation » (LEAN) project aimed at protecting forest reserves in the Waiwso Municipality of the Western North Region.
The project, a four-year initiative is to conserve, biodiversity, build climate resilience and reduce emissions from land-use changes in the savannah, high forest, and transition zones of Ghana.
Mr Kwadwo Nti Baniako, Manager, Landscapes and Community, explained that the project among others was to help cocoa farmers to improve upon their livelihoods.
He said the project would be implemented by a consortium of four local and international NGOs with expertise in the challenging fields.
The consortium is made up of Rainforest Alliance, World Vision Ghana, Tropenbos Ghana, and Ecocare Ghana.
The initiative according to him also seeks to address three structural barriers that have historically hindered efforts by the government, civil society organisations, and the private sector to halt land degradation and deforestation through the uptake of landscape approaches.
It is targeted at 36,000 small-scale farmers, Youth, students, graduates, and educational institutions representatives across the project’s three priority landscapes.
Some of the key Landscape governance structure actors include Sefwi-Waiwso landscape management Board, Bodi -Akontombra landscape management Board, Community Management Areas(CREMAs), and National Forestry Commission.
Others are the Ghana Cocobod, Local Community members among others.
« We have worked closely with farmers and realised they contribute to the destruction of our forest and therefore decided to engage them on the need to maintain and preserve the forest, he pointed out.
Mr Joseph Bempah, Deputy Western North Regional Manager of the Forestry Commission called on residents to support the Commission in protecting the forest since they could not do it alone.
He lauded the livelihood programmes of Rainforest Alliance since that would help farmers earn extra income and discourage them from entering the forest illegally.
Mr Osman Dawda, Bibiani Cocoa District Officer on his part, asked farmers to help protect forest reserves for the next generation.
He attributed the decline in cocoa production in the western North to the destruction of the forest and called on all to help maintain it.