The Ghana Red Cross Society (GRCS) has launched a project to plant and nurture about 15,000 trees in selected districts in the Upper West region to help mitigate the impact of climate change in the area.
The “Ghana Tree Planting and Care Project,” is being implemented in 15 communities, including Tanchara, Ombo, Samatigu, Yikpee, and the McCoy College of Education in the Lawra and Nandom Municipalities and Nadowli-Kaleo Districts, among others.
The GRCS has sourced 40,000 Euros from the Italian Red Cross Support Project through the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) to implement the eight months pilot project (April to November 2022), in partnership with the Forestry Commission and the Ghana Education Service.
Speaking at the project launch in Wa, Mr Kofi Addo, the Secretary-General of the GRCS, noted that the northern zone, including the Upper West region, was faced with a high threat of desertification, which had necessitated the piloting of the project in the region.
He attributed the recurring disasters in the area, such as floods, windstorms, and drought to the increased negative impact of human activities such as the felling of trees for charcoal production on the already fragile environment.
“The Ghana Red Cross is looking into short-term flood mitigation measures as well as long-term through its extensive community-based tree-planting programme,” he said.
Mr Addo said the project, which formed part of the Red Cross Pan Africa Initiative, involved planting multi-purpose trees that had economic value to the people, nurturing and caring for the trees to ensure they survived.
Mr Jonathan Hope, the Head of Disaster Management at the GRCS, noted that the project was also aimed at contributing to the climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies.
He said the tree planting and care initiative was in four thematic areas, reforestation, afforestation, addressing the drivers of desertification, and advocacy and policy engagement, geared towards achieving the intended results.
On his part, Mr James Kuusaana Donkor, the Upper West Regional Chairman of the GRCS, noted that they had extensively engaged with the traditional leaders and community members on the project to secure their maximum commitment to ensuring its success.
He said challenges relating to land acquisition and community ownership of the project as well as possible destruction of the plants by animals remained an utmost priority in their community engagement on the project.
Meanwhile, Naa Jaafar Nata-Sung Pelpuo, the Chief of Biihee, welcomed the initiative and pledged commitment to ensuring that the project succeeded within the Biihee community.
He explained that the community had allocated about 20 acres of land for development purposes and gave the assurance that he would engage the landlords of the area to use that parcel of land for the tree planting project.
By Philip Tengzu, GNA