Mole Ecological Landscape Gets Organic Processing Centres
A Rocha Ghana and partners have handed over a range of green enterprise processing facilities to four communities around the Mole National Park in the Savanna Region of Ghana.
The objective is to enhance the livelihood and the living standards of women and youth groups living close to the National Park, one of Ghana’s premier protected areas.
The communities are part of areas designated as Community Resource Management Areas (CREMAs) tasked with managing and protecting natural resources.
The offer is part of a bigger vision to support communities to harness the natural resources in their landscape by developing green enterprises to provide income for locals without destroying the environment.
The handing over ceremony was held at the Murugu Community in the West Gonja Municipality of the Savanna Region.
The facilities awarded include a full cycle circular organic shea butter processing factory with improved high-yield equipment that can employ 200 women directly.
It can produce 1000 kg of organic shea butter in a day and deploy waste recycling facilities to reduce the use of fuelwood and heating systems to avoid women’s exposure to smoke.
Also, two organic cassava processing facilities have been established in Bawena and Murugu Communities to produce organic Cassava flour to serve the local and international market.
Over 200 farmers from more than five communities close to Mole have registered to be part of this value chain.
The construction of 11 community satellite organic warehouses has been facilitated to support the process.
This is expected to serve eight women cooperatives with more than 600 members.
The storage capacity is more than 400 MT.
Other equipment provided to improve the transport of products from farm to the warehouses and the processing centre include 12 motorcycles, 130 tarpaulins for drying, and eight honey extractors to boost honey production in the diverse woodland habitats of Mole National Park.
More Support Needed
Delivering a welcome address at the ceremony, National Director of A Rocha Ghana, Dr Seth Appiah-Kubi noted that the CREMAs still need support to address and regulate illegal activities such as indiscriminate tree felling for charcoal production and rosewood harvesting.
He bemoaned the current destruction of shea trees, which is the foundation on which shea-based enterprises which support thousands of women in the northern parts of Ghana depend.
Dr Appiah-Kubi called for a legislative action to pass into law the Wildlife Resource Management Bill, which has been in and out of Parliament for more than 10 years.
This Act he stressed will empower communities to participate and also benefit from managing natural resources directly and address illegal activities like logging which are getting out of hand.
The French Ambassador to Ghana, Sophie Anne AVE, was excited for the women, and happy that Agence Française de Développement (AFD) funding has yielded results for women groups and associations.
She asked the beneficiaries to take full advantage of the interventions and improve their wellbeing.
Ron Striker, the Dutch Ambassador of the Royal Netherlands Embassy to Ghana, who was also happy to visit Mole and Murugu was emphatic about the need for the community and development partners to focus on nature, environment and climate change as they are critical issues that need urgent attention by local and national authorities.
Also present at the event were Minister-Designate for Lands and Natural Resources Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor; the Regional Minister-Designate for Savanna Region and Traditional Authorities from the Gonja Traditional Council.
The occasion also witnessed the signing of a Conservation Agreements between the CREMAs, Savanna Fruits Company and A Rocha Ghana.
The CREMAs benefitting from these interventions include; Murugu-Mognori, Yazori-Kumbo, Bawena-Kpulumbu and Grubagu-Wawato located within the eastern boundary of the Mole National Park.
Funding for these enterprises was made possible by the French Development Agency (AFD), the Global Shea Alliance (GSA) USAID, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Tiger Holdings Limited (ATHL), Noe, Agro Eco and the Netherlands Committee of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Direct Private Sector Support for the development of these enterprises came from Savannah Fruits Company (SFC), Evolution of Smooth (EOS), and PhytoDess.
The management of A Rocha Ghana has also called for partnerships to transition other unsustainable value chains like charcoal production into green and restorative enterprises that can support livelihoods to secure biodiversity and restore degraded landscapes in the region.