Preventing deforestation and Land degradation
Preventing deforestation and land degradation
The Story of How the 3PRCL Project is using Football to create awareness of the dangers of deforestation among stakeholders in the Western North Region of Ghana
The Partnership for Productivity, Protection and Resilience in Cocoa Landscapes ‘3PRCL’ Project is a UKAID funded project with the aim of achieving a deforestation-free cocoa landscape, develop landscape-wide governance framework with oversight responsibilities for land-use management and support the development of a market for climate-smart cocoa beans. The project is implemented in the Juaboso Bia district of the Western region of Ghana and is being implemented by Touton and consortium partners namely, the Nature Conservation Research Centre (NCRC), Agro Eco Louis Bolk Institute (Agro Eco), Tropenbos Ghana, Ghana COCOBOD, Ghana Forestry Commission and the Netherlands Development Organization (SNV) together with other cocoa industry giants to create investment which will preserve approximately 160,000 hectares of protected Forest Reserve and deliver socio-economic benefits to an estimated 150,000 people who live in cocoa growing areas by 2020.
In Ghana, cocoa is grown predominantly in the High Forest Zone located in 8 of the 16 regions which have the largest area of remaining primary forest in the country. Recently, Ghana’s forests have come under severe threat resulting in nearly 140,000 hectares of forest loss annually. Responsible for over a quarter of this loss is cocoa production which emanates from cocoa farmers expanding to new lands by clearing forest areas to plant their cocoa. Also, forest loss is heightened by lack of incentives to maintain trees on farms; lack of land-use planning and landscape management; and lack of collaboration amongst cocoa stakeholders.
In efforts to protect and secure Ghana’s remaining forest, Touton SA, a signatory to the Cocoa & Forest Initiative and it’s consortium partners, are implementing action plans to support sustainable cocoa production and farmer livelihoods, promote social inclusion and community engagement to address deforestation and land degradation. To create awareness of the dangers of deforestation and land degradation and sensitize communities on the importance of protecting the forest and sustainably increase cocoa productivity, the 3PRCL Project organizes an annual Forest CareTakers Gala which brings together over 5000 people from all 145 communities to cheer teams selected from the landscape. Also, in attendance in the annual event are traditional authorities from communities within the landscape, other cocoa companies, NGOs, etc.
The 2019 year’s event is the second event under the auspices of the 3PRCL project. The event was advertised on Ghana’s Peace 104.3 FM and Okay FM which is listened to in every part of the country to create awareness of the annual event and educate the general public on the need to protect our forests. At the community level, Rainbow FM of Juaboso (an affiliate of Peace FM) and Akwaaba FM of Sefwi Bodi also carried the adverts and run live commentary of the football matches. During the preliminary games which took place on the 26th of April 2019, 6 teams selected from the 6 Sub-HIAs (Sub-Hotspot Intervention Areas) namely Yawmatwa-Manzan sub-HIA, Asuobia sub-HIA, Sukusuku Debe sub-HIA, Juaboso-Dakwakrom sub-HIA, Krokosua Hills sub-HIA and Asuopiri sub-HIA competed for a place in the final cup matches which took place on the 30th of August 2019.
Two teams qualified for the final event which the Juaboso-Dakwakrom sub-HIA won the final football match. Participating teams received handsome cash rewards as appearance fees, whilst the winner took home a glittering trophy and GHS 5000.00. The sums of money donated to the teams are supposed to support the youth in forest protection activities.
During the games, Chiefs, officials from government agencies, Private Sector Partners and other stakeholders advised participants to join forces to collaborate and fight against forest degradation and deforestation. The Juaboso District Agricultural Officer asserted that since the project inception, illegal tree felling and other environmentally unfriendly practices which used to be on the ascendancy in previous years in the area has reduced.
~ When all communities within this region come together like this to fight against illegal tree logging, galamsey and the likes, we will not only win the war against deforestation and land degradation but will be able to increase our production of cocoa for Ghana our, motherland..
Nana Asante Bediatuo, Traditional leader, Sefwi Asempaneye