Atewa Forest
Atewa Forest

If the trend of forest cover loss continued unchecked, Ghana risked losing its total forest cover by 2040 Mafalda Duarte Head of Climate Investment Fund (CIF) of the World Bank warned here late Thursday.

Addressing a section of the media after a tour of the country to see progress of work on World Bank financed reforestation programs Duarte underscored the need for the rate of deforestation to be reversed.

“We know that Ghana has lost half of its forests since 2000. It is losing forests at two percent rate per year. If this rate is maintained Ghana will be without forests by 2040. So the initial process was to think about what are the key challenges,” the official noted.

The World Bank and the African Development Bank approved the Ghana reforestation program financing in 2010 to support government of Ghana and its agencies, Forestry Commission and the Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) in implementing interventions to ensure the preservation of forests.

The Ghana forestry program is comprehensive under the leadership of the government and has been showing signs of significant progress, according to the official.

The CIF has so far invested 75 million US Dollars in Ghana’s reforestation program which included looking at what the key drivers of deforestation were and what could be done to start changing that trajectory.

The project supports the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, directly with the Forestry Commission and Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) in reversing the forest degradation in reserves and also off-reserves.

One of the key interventions under the program was to ensure that Ghana moved the cocoa production from a system that was called “The sun loving system” to the shade-loving system recognized by CCOBOD, Forestry Commission and many other partners as a more beneficial system.

“What I have observed is a paradigm shift, a different understanding from the Forestry Commission, from COCOBOD, from the farmers that they need to move away from this concept of love for having cocoa tress exposed to sun visa-vis having this shade-loving cocoa,” she added.

Duarte was confident that there was now the understanding that if the producers of cocoa moved away from the previous practice of planting sun-loving crops into this practice, of planting shade loving cocoa they will have better yields; they will have better soil; they will have preserved better water streams; they will have better preserved biodiversity.

In recognition of successes chalked so far by the West African country the CIF has approved of an additional 19 million dollars to enhance the sustainability of the activities.

Part of the funds is helping government of Ghana to employ temporarily young school leavers to work within the Forestry Commission where they carry out nursing of seeds, transplanting and maintaining young tree crop plantations.

She announced the approval of another grant of about 19 million dollars for Ghana to deepen some of the activities being carried out. Enditem

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