Community leaders in some forest-fringed communities in the Krokosua and Tano-Offin Forest reserves have called on the government and Non-profit Organizations in the Natural Resource Sector to support them to undertake development projects in their communities. They made this appeal when a team from EcoCare Ghana donated some building materials and computers to support development projects in the 14 communities where the Monitoring of Cocoa and Forest Initiative Commitments through Participatory Approaches (MoCCPA) project is being piloted.
The team used the opportunity to remind them of the Cocoa and Forest Initiative commitments by the government of Ghana and License Buying Companies and entreated them to continue to monitor its implementation at the community level. Mrs Patience Olesu Adjei assured the communities members that even though the MoCCPA project is ending in 2020, the Cocoa and Forestry Initiative will be implemented over a 50 years period. She admonished them to use the knowledge gained through their engagements with EcoCare Ghana to continue monitoring the CFI process since they are the direct beneficiaries.
She urged them to take advantage of the opportunity presented by the CFI to directly engage government agencies such as COCOBOD, Forestry Commission and the Licensed Cocoa Buying companies to inquire about the progress CFI. She further advised them on look for information on how to access farmer-based incentive packages such as free fertilizers, extension services, mapping of farms and other remunerations meant for cocoa farmers under the programme.
The team was also hosted by Rainbow and Okyeame radio stations in Sefwi Juaboso and Bibiani respectively to create more awareness on the CFI project. The EcoCare Ghana team also enlightened the listeners on the role of citizens in protecting Ghana’s forest reserves from deforestation due to cocoa farming and illegal logging. They raised awareness on the need to plant indigenous trees on their cocoa farms, whilst practising sustainable farming methods to ensure their existing farms can yield enough produce to prevent them from clearing new lands for cocoa farming.
Mr. Alfred Mensah, a project officer at EcoCare Ghana, thanked all the community leaders for always making time to engage the team anytime they visit the communities. He also expressed gratitude to the 28 community monitors who were trained by EcoCare for their effort in monitoring the CFI implementation at the community level. He entreated them to continue sending alerts on any CFI related activity that stakeholders implement at the community level through the Forestlink Platform to help gather data for national level advocacy.
The chief of Adumam in the Sefwi Juaboso District, Nana Bennie II, called on other CSOs who work in the community to support ‘admitted communities in forest reserves’ since they are often neglected by the government in its development planning.
Mr. Kofi Sarpong, the Assembly Man for Chirayaaso, Bofaaso and Pemuruso electoral area expressed his gratitude to the EcoCare Ghana and Rain Forest Alliance for their support and pledge that he and his community members will continue to monitor the CFI implementation beyond the MoCCPA project.
Items donated by EcoCare Ghana, with funding from Rain Forest Alliance include building materials, plastic chairs, computers, windows and door frames to support a variety of community development projects such as computer labs for basic schools, the building of teachers and police quarters, Chairs for community centres among others. Beneficiary communities were taken from two district assemblies, Sefwi Juaboso and Atwima Mponua districts in the Western North and Ashanti Region respectively who are classified as Hotspot Intervention Areas due to the high rate of deforestation resulting from cocoa farming. Communities who benefited in the Juaboso District are: Adumam, Nkwanta, Abrokofe, Kwawkrom, Seniegyakrom and Mentukwah. In the Atwima Mponua District beneficiaries communities are: Akantanso, Chirayaaso, Bofaaso, Pemuruso, Sereso, Kasotie and Kyekyewere.