World Vision Ghana’s project on Landscapes and Environment Agility across the Nation (LEAN) has nursed and distributed about 4,800 commercial tree seedlings to farming communities in the Savannah Region in a bid to help restore lost vegetation cover.
The seedlings, which include cashew, shea, mahogany, baobab, rose and dawadawa, were distributed to farmers in the region. The project also led to the establishment of by-laws by the traditional authorities, banning tree cutting, bush burning as well as other illegal activities that affect forest reserves, farmlands, and the livelihoods of farmers.
In all, the project is targetting to distribute over 40,000 seedlings to inhabitants to plant on their farms and around their house so as to curb climate change.
Due to population pressure, the woodlands in northern Ghana are shrinking at an alarming rate. Human activities – such as indiscriminate tree felling for charcoal production and wood fuel, construction, and bush burning, coupled with unsustainable agricultural practices and urbanisation – contribute to forest depletion, resulting in biodiversity and livelihood losses.
The European Union-funded project, therefore, seeks to bring sanity within 20 communities and help to maximise agricultural production.
This came to light when the Board of Directors, staff and the agencies paid a working visit to some beneficiary communities in the Savannah Region. The team visited the Jonokponto and Tailorpe communities in Damongo.
The Programme Director for the integrated project, Joshua Baidoo, said the project works with the communities to regenerate degraded parklands to restore forest cover in order to boost agricultural production and the livelihoods of rural dwellers.
“The community members have been provided with incentives to ensure that they reduce bushfires,” he added.
Project Coordinator at the World Vision Ghana LEAN project, Joseph Edwin Yelkabong, said it aims to address some major barriers in selected landscapes across the savannah.
He noted that the beneficiary communities have been educated on the importance of tree planting and preservation while alternative livelihoods have been provided to encourage afforestation.
The project, in partnership with Rainforest Alliance, Tropenbos Ghana (TBG), and EcoCare Ghana since its inception, has helped to educate community members and farmers on the occurrence of indiscriminate bush fires that lead to the degradation of farmlands.
As part of the project, a 19.93kmsq of land has been established for water storage, with some trees planted around to protect the water from destruction. About 25 communities, consisting of about 12, 000 residents are benefitting from the project.
Aside from the seedlings, the organisation also constructed classroom blocks, drilled boreholes, and even sponsored some needy children from some communities to pursue their education.
According to some beneficiaries, the inception of the project brought relief and made the communities become ambassadors for change.
Suleman Seidu, a beneficiary at Tailorpe, said the project has helped to reduce bushfires and illegal tree-cutting over the past years.
Another beneficiary, Mary Sulemana, said it has provided alternative livelihoods as well as made community members to desist from charcoal business.