Shallom Lumor | Voltaonlinegh.com|
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with support from Mondelez Cocoa Life Program, has launched a mobile application to facilitate tree registration in off-reserve cocoa landscapes in the Asunafo North and Suhum Municipalities, in the Ashanti and Eastern Regions respectively.
The tree registration is to help farmers or those who plant trees, secure proof of ownership from the Forestry Commission, as per the current policy on tree tenure/ownership in Ghana.
The exercise is expected to encourage farmers to plant more trees in their farms to improve the country’s forest cover.
“As cocoa farmers, securing ownership of trees in our farms is what we have all been pushing for. So this registration exercise is very important to us”, stated Mr. Daniel Amponsah, a Cocoa Farmer in Kasapin Community, Asunafo North District.
Speaking on the importance of the mobile application, Mr. Kwame Asumadu, a Forest Management and Conservation Specialist at UNDP emphasized that the mobile application is to ease tree registration process in off-reserve landscapes.
“We had dialogues with various stakeholders to design a registration form to be used by farmers to register planted trees in off-reserve landscapes. To minimize the multiple tasks in such a tiring process, we decided to develop a mobile application to facilitate the data collection and storage processes”, noted Mr. Asumadu.
He added that the registration exercise will involve both planted and naturally-occurring trees to serve as an incentive to enhance the conservation of biological diversity in the landscape and the maintenance of the environmental conditions necessary for optimum production of cocoa.
To facilitate the tree registration, 45 community-level enumerators have been trained to embark on the registration process. They were particularly trained on the application of the mobile app and how to collect biodata, farm size, and tree data for each farmer and farms. It is expected that about 300,000 trees would be registered for farmers in the 2 districts.
The exercise would be carried out in the remaining 10 Cocoa Life districts where local economic trees were supplied to cocoa farmers.These districts are Ahafo Ano North, Amansie West, Sekyere East (Ashanti Region); Awutu Senya (Central Region); Fanteakwa, West Akim, New Juaben (Eastern Region); Bia West, Juabeso, and Wassa East (Western Region).
The tree registration initiative falls under a project entitled “Environmental Sustainability Project (ESP II) in Cocoa Landscapes’’. The project, has since 2014, supplied over 1.5million economic tree seedlings to more than 10,000 farmers in 560 communities across 5 regions of Ghana for planting, to increase tree and carbon stocks on their farms.
This falls in line with the project’s principal objective to help cocoa farmers adopt environmentally sustainable and climate change resilient cocoa production practices, and to conserve ecosystems and natural resources in cocoa landscapes.