The Paramount Chief of Sefwi Wiawso Traditional Area in the Western North Region has expressed gratitude to the British Government for supporting deforestation-free production of cocoa and timber in his community.
Speaking at the launch of the “Just Rural Transition”, an initiative which is aim to support a shift to fairer food and land use systems, and transform investment to support ecosystem services and rural and coastal livelihoods, he said, he thank Prince Charles and the British government for collaborating with his office, the local communities, together with the Forestry Commission of Ghana and Ghana Cocoa Board, in fighting deforestation and improving the lives of the local communities.
“I am pleased that in 2017 Olam and Rainforest Alliance began a collaborative effort with the goal of helping to conserve the cocoa and forest landscape in the corridor around Sui River, Suhuma, Tano Ehuru, Tano Suhien and Santomang which are all within my Paramountcy in Western North Region of Ghana. In this project, Olam is working in collaboration with my office, my local communities, together with the Forestry Commission of Ghana and Ghana Cocoa Board, to fight deforestation and improve the lives of the local communities”, he revealed.
He added that he has been briefed on the technical assistance that the Olam sustainability team is providing to farmers within his area and that farmers are producing Climate Smart Cocoa as a result of British government’s intervention.
He said participating communities within the Juaboso Bia Landscape can now boast of improved livelihood and Some of his community members now harvest honey, rear grasscutter and have planted trees which earn them additional income.
He said that through the P4F projects with Olam and Touton, they are working to bring into reality the Just Rural Transition.
“In June this year, we set up a committee of traditional authorities – Forest Reserve Encroachment Remediation Committee – to identify, map and profile all illegal farms and settlements and developed a grandfathering and remediation plan to plant trees, reduce expansion and as well as ensure that cocoa companies do not buy from those profiled illegal farms. Incentives are being provided such as farm-level services to 60,000 farmers, forest patrolling to augment governments efforts. It is my hope that this will help reduce deforestation and increase incomes and improve livelihoods of farmers”, he added.
He revealed that he has also reversed the insecure farm tenure regime such that cocoa farmers now have 50years leases to their farm lands , Aged farms can now be rehabilitated without the risk of losing the lands and this will lead to increased productivity, reduce expansion into forests and ensure planting of shade trees in cocoa farms, as part of Climate Smart Cocoa Standards.
He announced that he has appealed to the President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo to consider reforms that will create Environmental Courts to back our efforts in the region.
About “Just Rural Transition”
Just Rural Transition feeding 9 billion people by 2030 while protecting the vital natural systems which sustain life will be one of the defining challenges of our generation. It will require a transformation in the way in which we use land, produce food and protect nature.
Launched at the UN Climate Action Summit in September 2019, A Just Rural Transition (JRT) brings together governments, companies, civil society, farmers groups and indigenous people to support a growing global ‘community of purpose’. The JRT Vision Statement sets out a 2030 vision and key principles that will underpin a transformation in land use consistent with the Paris Agreement, halting the rapid degradation of nature and accelerating delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Ghana | Atinkaonline.com