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.

“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.