The French government is supporting Ghana with €1.8 million to develop green value chains in and around selected protected areas in the country.
The four-year project, dubbed: “Phase II of the Econobio”, seeks to create over 10,000 employment opportunities for the people, especially women living around forest reserves and protected areas.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed to that effect yesterday by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resource, Mr. Samuel Abu Jinapor, for the government, and the French Ambassador, Mrs. Anne Sophie Avé, for her country, with Mr. Nicholas Drunet initialling for Noe, a French nature conservation NGO.
The project is in response to threats to forest reserves and protected areas.
It will also build green businesses for the benefit of communities in those areas.
The first phase, which lasted three years, cost €1.25 million and was completed in March 2021.
The project is being executed in collaboration with some civil society organisations and NGOs.
The second phase will cover communities around four different landscapes, such as national parks and reserves with biodiversity reach.
The beneficiary communities are those around the Mole national park, the Wildlife Western corridor in the northern part of the country and the Atiwa and the Ankasa forests.
Mr. Jinapor said it was in line with the objectives of such projects that the government launched the Green Ghana project, which saw the planting of more than five million trees across the country on June 11, 2021.
Within the fragile savanna ecological zones in northern Ghana, the Forestry Commission, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other partners, was also implementing a Shea Landscape REDD+ programme which sought to address some of the critical natural resource management challenges in the savanna parklands to save shea trees, as well as Dawadawa and other economic trees, from rapid degradation, he said.
The minister said the launch of the phase II was another important intervention to protect the forests and biodiversity, while at the same time improving the lives and livelihoods of our people.
“It combines community development, small industrialisation and biodiversity conservation to increase incomes and preserve natural resources. This clearly aligns with our forest and landscape restoration master plan and the forest and wildlife policy,” he added.
According to Mr. Jinapor, one of the focus areas of the project was the community resource management areas (CREMAs) concept being implemented under the forest investment programme.
He said that would enhance the capacity of local communities to manage their natural resources, noting that lessons learnt from the implementation of the concept in the Western and Western North regions would guide the country, moving forward.
For his part, Mrs. Avé said the objective of the project was to ensure community participation, including traditional leaders and the local government.
She described the first phase of the project as successful, as it also portrayed the positive side of the country and Africa.
“Thanks to the project that we are collectively doing in Ghana, we have some very interesting articles in French newspapers about how business is thriving in Ghana, including how this project at Murugu is creating sustainable jobs,” the ambassador added.
She said the Murugu project was not only successful in creating wealth but also bringing communities together to preserve the environment.