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Government marks rivers and forest reserves as “Red Zones” for mining

By News, Press Release

Government has marked river bodies and forest reserves as “no go areas” for mining as it enhanced its resolve to ending galamsey.

Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, reaffirmed government’s determination to end illegal mining, during a meeting with Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives(MMDCEs) in Takoradi.

“We’re at crossroads in our fight against galamsey and so government has put in place interventions to sanitize the small-scale mining sector.

“Therefore, the MMDCEs are the heartbeat and fulcrum around which law enforcement can thrive in our fight against galamsey,” Mr Jinapor told MMDCEs from mining districts in the Western Region.

The Minister stated that the Regional and District Security Councils had been mandated to spearhead the fight against illegal mining at the communities and, therefore, the Regional Ministers and MMDCEs who chair the Councils should work in harmony with the security agencies and stakeholders in the mining communities to end the galamsey menace.

“You should make sure no mining activities take place 100 metres to water bodies.

“No fresh mining permit will be issued and so you’ll not accept new forest entry permits from anyone.

“And so make sure no NPP man or NDC man or anyone enters a forest reserve or river body to mine, no person is above the law,” Mr Jinapor cautioned.

The Minister said from Friday, April 30, all mining equipment operating in forest reserves should be evacuated from the site and thus, tasked the MMDCEs to enforce the directives to the letter.

That directive is in reference to the “no more mining reconnaissance and/ or prospecting licence will be issued by the Minerals Commission until further notice.

“This is no “big men” when it comes to enforcement of mining regulations. It’s a national undertaking,” he added.

The Minister admitted that illegal mining small-scale, otherwise known as ‘galamsey’ is endemic in Ghana and it will take a while to eradicate it completely, therefore MMDCEs had critical roles to play in that regard.

The Minister is on a two-day working tour of the Region to have first- hand information on challenges in the small-scale mining sector.

The Minister also held a closed-door meeting with members of the Regional Security Council to find ways of enforcing the mining laws and regulations.

He also paid a courtesy call on Omanhene of Essikadu Traditional Area Nana Kobina Nketsia V.


Earth Day 2021 – US Ambassador supports Otumfuo to protect Lake Bosomtwe

By Press Release, Support, Tree Planting

The United States Ambassador to Ghana, Stephanie S. Sullivan, on Thursday joined Asanteman to plant trees along the buffer of Lake Bosomtwe at Ankaase in the Bosomwe District to mark World Earth Day.

The day is observed every year on April 22 to create awareness about pollution and to celebrate the environmental blue planet.

“Restore Our Earth” which is the theme for this year’s celebration, focuses on natural processes and emerging green technologies that can restore the world’s ecosystems.

It is in line with this that the Regional Environment Office of the U.S. Embassy chose to plant 2,000 trees along Lake Bosomtwe to commemorate the day in support of the Asante Kingdom Land Restoration Project (AKLRP).

The AKLRP is an ambitious initiative that seeks to preserve water bodies and forests in the Asante Kingdom as a means of addressing emerging climate change challenges.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the King of the Asante Kingdom as part of his commitment to complement global efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change across the world, launched the project in 2019 with the aim of restoring depleted buffers of water bodies.

The project is implemented by Oheneba Poku Foundation, which is working in partnership with state institutions such as the Water Resources Commission, Forestry Commission, Fisheries Commission, Environmental Protection Agency and District Assemblies.

The tree planting exercise brought together all the key stakeholders including; representatives from the Bosome Freho and Bosomtwe District assemblies, Manhyia Palace, Regional Coordinating Council, fringe communities of the Lake and school children.

Ms. Sullivan said the day was a call to action by all stakeholders to renew their commitments to a healthier and more resilient future for the people around the world and the planet.

She said climate change represented the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and Ghana for that matter, adding that it would affect vital water resources, energy supplies, crop production and food security if urgent measures were not taken to address them.

“Agriculture remains the backbone of Ghana’s economy, supplying over 70 per cent of national food requirements. And since Ghanaian agriculture is predominantly rain-fed, it remains vulnerable to climate change”.

The U.S. Ambassador said Lake Bosomtwe was an excellent example of why addressing climate change was a priority for the Biden Administration and the world and applauded Ghana’s efforts to mainstream climate change policies in its national development strategies and its commitment to developing ambitious nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement.

She commended Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, for showing leadership by launching the AKLRP to mobilize the people to protect water bodies and pledge her commitment to support the project.

Nana Adu Mensah Asare, the Amankomhene who represented the Asantehene, highlighted the progress that the project had made in protecting and enhancing the quality of the environment at the Bosomtwe Biosphere Reserve.

“We can be proud of the actions we have taken as a nation to protect the environment for ourselves and our children, but there was a lot to be done and I invite you all to join us to take the decisive actions to restore our planet.”, he implored.

He said soil degradation through soil erosion had been the main form of land degradation in the Bosomtwe Biosphere Reserve and many parts of the country, resulting in nutrient loss and thereby, and reducing agricultural productivity.

Destruction of Trees At Pipie

By Press Release

Pipie No. 2 is in the Bosomtwe District and is one of the 22 communities with a common shoreline on Lake Bosomtwe. The community suffers from excessive erosion, low rainfall, low fish harvest as compared to other communities, and siltation of the lake.

After the baseline study, the Asante Kingdom Landscape Restoration Programme decided to implement a landscape Restoration intervention at the community to improve the ecosystem service provision and arrest the erosion of the lake and reduce the siltation. Reeds (known locally as Nwere) were planted as a riparian buffer strip to serve as an interface between the dry land and the lake. 5,600 seedlings of different species were planted in the buffer and the transition area to provide shade and also help arrest the perennial erosion.

On Sunday the Programme’s Coordinator received news that a developer had cleared portions of the buffer and in the process cleared all the trees, shrubs and reeds we planted at the buffer zone .

A formal complaint was made to the Police at the district command at Kuntenase. The station officer, Inspector Edward Aboagye who received the complaint, detailed Corporal Elizabeth Sabah of the Criminal Investigative
Unit (CID) to investigate the case.

To prevent future occurrence of land sale that includes the protective areas around the lake, a decision was reached to run an orientation programme for Nananom and other stakeholders.

At the Meeting the following ensued:

  1. Nananom were briefed on the action taken so far on the destruction of the trees at Pipie No.2
  2. Nananom were given an orientation on the bye laws and a copy given to each one of them
  3.  Nananom made very educative contribution and unanimously supported the chairman-on his suggestion that we should embark on an extensive educational campaign on the bye laws

And at the end of the deliberation, it was concluded that; He (Baffour Senkyire Amoako-the developer) halts the development of the project with immediate effect, supply 5,980(five thousand, five hundred and 80 seedlings) to be replanted, that 2000 seedlings will be planted at Pipie No.2 where the destruction occurred, a formal agreement is to be signed between the defendant to be witnessed by Nana Kuntenasehene and the District Assembly, amongst others.

Download Full Report from here

Celebration of World Water Day

By Engagements, Press Release

The theme of World Water Day 2021 is “Valuing Water” and has been chosen to highlight the value of water in our daily lives. According to the UN, The value of water is about much more than its price – water has enormous and complex value for our households, food, culture, health, education, economics and the integrity of our natural environment.

It is a fact that ….  Many of  our  rivers, lakes and streams have their sources from the forests.

As we celebrate World Water Day today, Otumfuo Osei Tutu ll and the Asante Kingdom Landscape Restoration Programme reiterate it’s efforts to restore our forest and save our water bodies.

Reduced vegetative cover along water bodies, coupled with increased pollution from domestic and  in some cases industrial waste, has resulted in increased sediment and nutrient loading of streams, which, lead to deterioration in water quality of the natural water bodies.

To this end, The Asante Kingdom Landscape Restoration Programme’s partnership with the Water Resources Commission, EPA, Forestry commission and others will continue to work on education and the enforcing of buffer zone policy at Lake Bosomtwe, and the Owabi and Barekese Dams respectively. The ongoing forestry and agroforestry programme is on course to also plant 100million trees to restore degraded landscapes and protect our rivers and water bodies by 2029.

We marked this year’s celebration with a visit to Barekese dam which supplies 40 % of drinking water to Kumasi to provide education on proper farming practices around river bodies. There is a need to activate decisive action on people living around our water bodies to engage in healthy farming practices.

5th Stakeholder Meeting – Action Plan 2021

By Stakeholder Meeting

Programme Coordinator

The Asante Kingdom Landscape Restoration Programme held it’s 5th Stakeholder Meeting on Tuesday, February 2nd 2021 to review progress made so far and outline an action plan for the year 2021. In attendance as was expected, were the representatives of the major stakeholders and programme partners which are Oheneba Poku Foundation (OPF), Manhyia, Water Resources Commission (WRC), CREMA, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), Bosomtwe and Bosome Freho District Assemblies, and Chiefs of some fringed communities of the lake.

Dr. Peter Twum gave the welcome address on behalf of Nana Adu Mensah Asare, stating the purpose if the meeting as a review of project activities which were carried out in the previous year, 2020. He continued by saying, the review was meant to highlight achievements and correct shortfalls. He ended by admonishing stakeholders that, their activities and deliberations will consequently have effects on future generations to inherit the natural resource.

The Project Coordinator of The Asante Kingdom Landscape Restoration Programme, Mr. Fred Kyei mentioned that, one goal of the project was to plant one (1) million trees at designated zones around the lake. However, only 315,000 were planted with destroyed seedlings being replaced. He stated that, national lockdown due to COVID-19 was a major factor which hindered progress of project activities but for the enthusiasm and willingness of community members, seedlings would not have been planted. He also stated that, some logistics including watering cans, wellington boots and cutlasses given community members were not durable and that, Hon. Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng (Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation) had pledged to donate some logistics in support of the project. He added that, there were plans to purchase pillars for the demarcation of buffer zones around the Lake Bosomtwe.

The District Chief Executive for Bosomtwe, Joseph Kwasi Asuming, Esq, reminded the house of the importance of the lake Bosomtwe as a natural resource and a national asset and hence the need to be conserved and protected. He stated therefore that, the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) be involved in the pursuit to protect the water resource. He reminded stakeholders that, by-laws regarding the use of the water resource have been gazetted and therefore must be enforced. He added that, members of fringed communities have been well informed and educated on proper use and protection of the Lake and it was now necessary to enforce the laws.

Mr. Fred Kyei sighted some instances of illegal activities practiced around the lake and therefore expressed the need for enforcement of the by-laws. He informed the house about a jingle which has been created by the Foundation to enhance awareness creation and which should be broadcasted at community centers of every community around the lake. This would further sensitize community members of the consequence of illegal practices which destroy the Biosphere Reserve.

He continued by stating the following activities and actions to be undertaken within the year 2021;

  • Tree planting would be done at designated buffer areas to ensure plants are not destroyed by humans and animals
  • Proper record keeping of seedlings provided by stakeholders to communities. This he said, will improve accountability. Type of seedlings and designated lands for planting would be properly discussed with chiefs and communicated subsequently to stakeholders.
  • By-laws; awareness creation and education on by-laws should be done in communities to clear any doubt of community members not being informed on contents of the laws. He stated that, a one-month education campaign on by-laws would be carried out.
  • Hotels; issues of bad practices by some hotels around the Lake Bosomtwe were in the process of being resolved by the WRC in collaboration with the Foundation and Manhyia.
  • Enforcement of buffer policies which would be backed by chieftaincy
  • Galamsey activities have led to sedimentation and drying up of the lake. Hence, the Forestry Commission would be contacted to enforce their regulations in affected areas within the Biosphere Reserve.
  • Climate Smart Agriculture; restrictions to be set on the use of agrochemicals around the Lake. Farmers would be given education on best practices. Establishment of demonstration farms in selected communities would be done.
  • Use of illegal fishing methods and equipment, such as plastic traps, by fishermen would be replaced with sustainable and eco-friendly materials such as bamboo traps. Education would be given to fisher folks.
  • Taboo days for fishing would be re-enforced by chiefs to aid replenishment of fish stock. Shrubs and vegetation along the banks of the lake would be protected from being cleared or harvested since they serve as breeding grounds for fish.
  • Provision of logistics to communities

He stated additionally that, there should be proper monitoring of tree planting activities to ensure seedlings are planted at designated areas. Mr. Kyei also expressed the need for joint efforts by all stakeholders in carrying out activities to achieve goals of the land restoration programme.

Partnership to restore Bosomtwe Landscape

By Press Release

Otumfuo Osei Tutu ll, Asantehene, has reiterated his commitment to provide protection and introduce measures to restore and protect areas around water and river bodies with responsible environmental activities in the Asante Kingdom. He made the announcement during the visit of the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong -Boateng at the Manhyia Palace.

Prof, Kwabena Frimpong- Boateng and his team of technical heads from agencies such as The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), The Forestry Commission(FC), FC’s Wildlife Division, FC’ Forest Services Division(FSD)and COCOBOD were at the palace to explore a possible collaboration with the Asante Kingdom Landscape Restoration Programme.

The ongoing Asante Kingdom Landscape Restoration Programme is promoting the adoption of Asante traditional ecological knowledge, through appropriate socio cultural land management practices like (proka, taboos and by-laws). The programme is also promoting the use of climate-smart agriculture technologies to build resilience of smallholder farmers within the cash and food crops landscapes targeted under the project.

Asante Kingdom’s rural economy is highly dependent on the agriculture, forestry and fishery sectors, thus making land resources, including agricultural lands, forests, natural habitats, and water bodies critical for growth. Forestry, and agriculture sectors including cocoa production account for more than 53 percent of land use and employ about 60 percent of the population in the kingdom, including closely to 53% of women. Agroforestry, dominated by cocoa and subsistence farming have been the backbone of the kingdom and for that matter Ghana’s economy for decades. He said, “a vast majority of an estimated 800,000 farmer households in Ghana who are directly dependent on cocoa production for their livelihoods are in the Asante Kingdom. These smallholder farming systems are heavily reliant on the forest and agro forest ecosystem services, including rainfall, pollination, wind breaks, soil fertility, water bodies and socio-cultural resources

The programme began in 2019 with a landscape restoration intervention around Lake Bosomtwe by planting on 4,000 hectares of land with 3 million trees over a five year period. This, Otumfuo hoped, should ultimately help contribute to improved ecosystem service provision, climate change mitigation, and improved environmental consciousness among inhabitants of fringe communities around the Lake. Other stakeholders include the Forestry Commission of Ghana, Environmental Protection Agency, Water Resources Commission, Ghana Tourism Authority, UNESCO, the District Assemblies of Bosome-Freho and Bosomtwe as well as the Lake Bosomtwe Community Resources Management Areas (CREMA)

Ghana’s only natural lake, Lake Bosomtwe, has since 2016 been designated a Biosphere Reserve Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote healthy balance between biodiversity conservation and its sustainable use. The move was a response to the appeal made by the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, for the protection of the lake.

The Project Coordinator of The Asante Kingdom Landscape Restoration Programme, Mr Fred Kyei Sapong, said “The Asante Kingdom Land Restoration Programme is in line with several global and national policies, plans and strategies that focus on protecting water bodies, wetlands, halting deforestation caused by human activities, ecosystem restoration and economic development’.

The visit by Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng ,the sector Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation confirmed the modest gains made by the project and the need for more work to be done to reverse land degradation in order to unlock the development potential of the areas and speed up the socio-economic development of the area.

Protect Lake Bosomtwe by planting trees

By News, Support

Three fringe communities on the Lake Bosomtwe Basin have embarked on a tree planting exercise as part of efforts to protect the lake.

The Amakom, Adjaman and Atafram communities embarked on the exercise under the Asantehene Land Restoration Project, which coincided with this year’s International Day of Forests and World Water Day celebrations.

The Forests and World Water days are celebrated to raise awareness of the importance of forests to the people and their vital role in poverty eradication, environmental sustainability and food security.

Led by Nana Adu Mensah Asare, the Chief of Kumasi Amakom and Chairman of the Asantehene Land Restoration Project, the three communities planted hundreds of tree species in the buffer zones of the Lake, which continue to dry up due to human activities.

The King of the Asante Kingdom, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, is executing the project with support from the Oheneba Poku Foundation and Blaze Metal Resources, which seeks to restore 40,000 hectares of degradable lands in the Bosomtwe Biosphere Reserve.

The target is to plant and manage three million trees by 2024 out of which 2.5 million would be planted in the buffer of the Lake.

Nana Adu Mensah said the Asantehene’s vision was not only to protect Ghana’s only natural lake and other water bodies but also restore lands and forests that had been degraded in his Kingdom.

He said the expectation was that those engaging in farming activities around the lake would be forced to vacate as more trees were planted to save the Lake from further dwindling.

Members of all the 22 communities in the biosphere, he said, had shown commitment to support the King in protecting the lake which is one of the major tourist sites in the region.

Mr Fred Kyei Sarpong, the Executive Director of Oheneba Poku Foundation, said the project would have a huge impact on the livelihood of residents in surrounding communities and beyond as it would address virtually all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

He said 110,000 out the 2.5 million trees had already been planted around the Lake and that 1.5 million more would be planted this year.

“We are not just planting the trees but we are managing them together with all the 22 communities in the Bosomtwe Biosphere Reserve. So they would naturally own and nurture them knowing how significant the trees are to the lake,” he stated.

“We are not only planting trees but we are introducing conservation agriculture here so that farmers can have sustainable ways of farming and also consider the top soil as the most important asset they have”.

He implored the Bosomtwe and Bosome Freho District Assemblies to strictly enforce their by-laws to make illegal activities around the Lake and forest reserves unattractive.

Mr Yaw Oppong Agyemang, the Country Manager of Blaze Metal Resources, said since most streams uptake their sources from forests, it was important to protect and restore the forests to sustain water bodies.

He said his outfit would continue to support the Asantehene to implement the project to restore the vibrant nature of the Lake, thereby improving the local economy.

Amakomhene calls on farmers to embrace smart farming

By Engagements, News

Nana Adu Mensah, the Chief of Kumasi-Amakom, has called on farmers living in communities dotted around the Bosomtwe Lake to embrace climate-smart agricultural practices to help protect the only natural lake in the Country.

He said by doing that, it would have the multiple advantage of not only protecting the lake but also reduce operational cost, boost crop yield and combat climate change. Climate-Smart Agriculture is an integrated approach to managing landscapes, cropland, livestock, forests and fisheries – that addresses the interlinked challenges of food security and climate change.

Nana Asare was speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting on the proposed Lake Bosomtwe Landscape Restoration Project to be spearheaded by the Asantehene, Otumfour Osei Tutu II, in collaboration with Oheneba Poku Foundation.
The meeting was attended by traditional leaders of 23 communities in the Lake Bosomtwe basin, representatives of state agencies such as Water Resources Commission (WRC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other relevant stakeholders. The five-year project seeks to plant 2.5 million trees on a 4,500 hectare land in over 30 communities around the lake.

A Community Resource Management Area (CREMA), made up of representatives from the various communities, had been set up to undertake the tree planting. The Amakomhene, who had been nominated by the Asantehene as the Chair of the Implementation Committee, said the farmers would reap huge benefits by actively participating in the project. He said adhering to the advice of experts under the project would ensure fertile soil that would guarantee higher nutritional value to food, adding that, healthy soil holds more moisture to keep plant roots hydrated during dry seasons.

Adopting other soil conservation methods such as contour planting and no-till farming, he noted, could reduce erosion and keep the soil in place during heavy downpour and flooding. He decried the rate at which the lake was shrinking and dwindling in fish stock largely due to human activities including unacceptable farming practices, land degradation and deforestation.

Approximately 60 per cent of deforestation is caused by agricultural expansion as the conversion of forest to cropland produces a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions”, he stated. He said the Asantehene was embarking on the project to restore the Lake to its glorious past and urged traditional leaders in the various communities and other stakeholders to support the King.

Mr. Fred Kyei, the Executive Director of Oheneba Poku Foundation, entreated the farmers to depart from the over reliance on chemicals in clearing their farmlands. Such practices, he said, contributed to low yields among local farmers as it adversely affected nutrient availability in the soil. Mrs. Abena Dufie Wiredu Bremang, Ashanti Regional Director of the Water Resources Commission, underlined the need to target the buffer zones around the lake before extending the tree planting exercise to other allocated lands.

“Do more to protect Ghana’s forests” – Asantehene urges Forestry Commission

By News

The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has urged the Forestry Commission, to step up the fight against illegal logging to protect Ghana’s forest cover from further destruction. He said much more needed to be done to halt the wanton destruction of forest reserves and charged the Commission to strictly enforce the laws to stem the bad practice.

Otumfuo made the observation when a delegation from the Forestry Commission led by its Chief Executive Officer, Mr Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, paid a courtesy call on him at the Manhyia Palace on Wednesday.

The delegation was at the palace to pay homage to the Asante King, who sat in state to receive visitors in commemoration of the Awukudae (one of the sacred days on the Asante calendar).

It was also to pledge the commitment of the Commission to the Lake Bosomtwe Landscape Restoration Project, being implemented by the Otumfuo in collaboration with Oheneba Poku Foundation.

The project seeks to plant 2.5 million trees over a five-year period in the Lake Bosomtwe basin, Ghana’s only natural lake, while contributing to climate change mitigation efforts in the country.

Otumfuo said it was unacceptable for people to plunder the forests with impunity and charged the Forestry Commission to take stringent steps to fight the menace.

He said in other jurisdictions, it was a great offense to cut a tree without authority due to how they valued the importance of trees to the environment.

He commended the Commission for their interest in the Lake Bosomtwe Project which, he said, was very dear to his heart because of the potential to restore the Lake to its glorious past.

The Asantehene directed the Commission to liaise with the Amakomhene, Nana Adu Mensah Asare, who is the Chairman of the implementation Committee to determine when to plant the first tree to signify the commencement of the project.

Mr Owusu-Afriyie said the project was in line with the afforestation programmes being pursued by the Commission, hence it was worth supporting.

He said the Commission would produce all the 2.5 million seedlings required for the project and also deploy its staff under the Youth in Afforestation Programme to hasten the planting exercise.

Additionally, the National Plantation Board would also produce 500,000 seedlings to support the project, he stated.