Tamale: Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia Launches Shea Project

Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia at the launch of the Shea Landscape Emission Reductions Project in Tamale.

Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has launched the Shea Landscape Emission Reductions Project in Tamale in the Northern region.

The project will be implemented by the Forestry Commission with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as the accredited entity of the GCF.

The project will provide adaptation co-benefits for target populations by restoring ecosystems services, reducing the risks of environmental shocks, and increasing incomes and options for livelihoods on 471,500 hectares of land in the Northern Savannah Zone. Overall this translates into strengthened adaptive capacity and reduced exposure to climate risks for 100,200 direct beneficiaries and indirectly benefits 540,200 inhabitants in the project area.

The Ghana Shea landscape Emission Reductions Project (GSLERP) (a component of the Ghana REDD+ strategy) has been developed to address the alarming situation in a transformational manner in line with national policies and measures.

The project seeks to promote sustainable approaches to land use, forest conservation, and enhanced community-based resource management to stem the ongoing forest degradation and deforestation from illegal logging, charcoal production, agricultural expansion, and illegal mining that threaten the forests and Shea production system.

The programme would also be an important initiative to strengthen rural economies in the north, support female-dominated Shea harvesting systems, and revenue streams, and also address poverty which is widely considered to be endemic in this zone.

The GSLERP has four (4) outputs, which are to off-reserve, degraded, savannah forests restored under self-financing community management in CREMA, Degraded shea parklands restored through public-private partnerships, Forest cover restored in forest reserves through modified taungya system plantations and fire management, and Integrated monitoring system implemented and REDD+ systems strengthened.

Addressing participants at the launch, Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia said during the 26th board meeting of Global Climate Fund, the board approved the Ghana Shea landscape Emission Reductions Project (GSLERP) of an amount of $54.5 million with a grant component of $30.1 million co-financing by governments Ghana of $24.4 million.

“ The grant seeks to mitigate the effect and the fragile ecosystem of Northern-Savannah landscape as well as improve the Shea value chain especially for the small scale women and Shea entrepreneurs .”

According to him, GSLERP will be the second emission reduction program to be implemented under the Ghana REDD+ process in Ghana focusing on the Northern landscapes which are currently undergoing rapid deforestation and degradation including the loss of valuable Shea trees.

He indicated that GSLERP provides a unique opportunity to engage on a bigger scale in the Shea commodity and its product which are important in generating activities for over 600,000 women and has gained prominence as a preferred ingredient for the cosmetic and food processing industry globally.

“ Ghana is currently the fourth producer of Shea in the world, I believe this project is successfully implemented will change the status with the planting of 1.7 million Shea trees over the seven years.”

Dr. Bawumia noted that the government of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo since taking office has supported scientific research on the Shea plant to make the Shea a reliable income-generating product.

“ The work of Cocoa board has led to an important breakthrough, the gestation period of the Shea plant as a result of this research has significantly reduced from over twenty years to an average of three years so this is a major boost to the Shea industry. It is for this reason that the government committed in their 2022 budget statement to embark on projects that will promote the cultivation Shea in the North just like Cocoa in the South to transform the local economy of the Hawa regions.”

The Vice President stated that the Shea landscape Emission Reductions Project (GSLERP) is in line with the number priority of the government which seeks to stimulate growth in the real sectors of the economy, particularly through agriculture production systems.

“ Again the project is in line with the national climate policy which seeks to build climate resilience as a climate-compatible economy while achieving sustainable development through local economic growth in Ghana. The world is dealing with a common enemy climate change, climate change has led to the near-extinction of almost 1 million animals and plant species and it’s exposing humans to extreme temperature conditions.

“ Building forest ecosystems is the world’s well-known solution have climate change with the capacity to contribute to the global climate solution. This demonstrates Ghana’s commitment to climate action in the forest reserve. This project will address the financial constraints farmers and ensure that gender equality prevails in the Shea production systems and promote business development of Shea farming among natives and calls for decrease deforestation and enhance dire management covering almost 500,000 hectors.”

“ Government will continue to create a climate-responsive atmosphere through the right policies, technical and financial commitments,” he said.

He called on the chiefs and people of the five regions of the North to support the project to ensure its implementation successfully.

The United Nations Development Programme Ghana – Resident Representative, Dr. Angela Lusigi noted that UNDP is convinced that the project has the potential to bring the transformation of change in Ghana’s Northern Savannah zone.

“ This project will not only contribute to investment in the impact of climate change it will also enhance the environmental services, but it will also transform the livelihood of people particularly women involve in the Shea value chain in the Northern-Savannah landscapes and will make communities more resilient.”

According to her, over the past eight years, UNDP has worked with Ghana’s Cocoa Board and the Forestry Commission to promote Cocoa sustainable production adding that farmers have received over 1 million economically valuable seedlings resulting in the rehabilitation of 55,000 hectors of forest alms waterways and protective areas.

She reiterated UNDP’s commitment to work with all their partners to support the government and the people of Ghana through the Shea Landscape Emission Reductions Project launched and believe that Ghana has what it takes in achieving the sustainable development goals.

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