Fairtrade Africa launches project to combat depletion of vegetative cover

By Regina Benneh

Goaso (A/R), March 28, GNA -The Ghana Agroforestry for Impact (GAIM) Project has been launched at Goaso in the Ahafo Region to contribute to the improvement in livelihoods and climate change resilience through agro ecological transition of cocoa farms.

 The three-year project, being implemented by Fairtrade Africa, in partnership with Max Havelaar France and the French Development Agency, will help improve the livelihoods and climate resilience of cocoa farms.

 It would focus on three main areas; strengthening Fairtrade certified cocoa cooperatives to support farmers in the agro-ecological transition, contributing to the ecological intensification of smallholder cocoa production systems, and improving and diversifying cocoa farmers’ income and livelihoods. 

The project would be implemented in the Asunafo North Municipality and Asunafo South District of the Ahafo Region to profit 1,200 Farmers and households from 20 communities.

Three Fairtrade certified cooperatives to benefit are the Asunafo North Municipal Cooperative Cocoa Farmers Union, Kukuom Cooperative Cocoa Farmers and Marketing Union, and Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union.

 A statement signed by Madam Fanny Nana Ampon, Communications Coordinator for the DONUTS Programme at Fairtrade Africa, said Ghana, the second largest cocoa producer in the world, faced challenges of deforestation, increasing environmental degradation, ageing farmers, climate change and pest and diseases.

Climate change had an impact on cocoa production leading to reduced yield, tree mortality, pests and diseases, it said.

Since agriculture production in Ghana, including cocoa, was largely dependent on rain-fed agriculture, the over-reliance on cocoa as the main source of income for the farming households had become unsustainable as most farmers suffered during the lean seasons, the statement said.

 The GAIM project would, therefore, help provide tools to farmers to fight against the adverse effects of climate change, reduce their dependence on the sole commodity of cocoa, and revitalise ageing cocoa farms through Dynamic Agroforestry Techniques (DAF) to ensure their sustainability.

 The GAIM project would strongly promote women in leadership and the involvement of the youth in cocoa farming through the Women’s School of Leadership and Youth modules under the GAIM.

 Meanwhile, Mr Yaw Osei–Boahen, the Municipal Chief Executive, Asunafo North Assembly, in a speech read on his behalf at the launch of the project, said Ghana was blessed with natural resources and minerals but they had been over-exploited.

 The nation had to constantly work towards restoring the natural endowment to sustain her ecological vegetation.

  The MCE called on all to embrace the GAIM project and apply multi-dimensional approaches to combat the fast depletion of the country’s vegetation cover.

That would also help to promote the cultivation of cocoa plantations with mixed cropping to offer farmers alternative livelihood sources.