The “Green Ghana Project” to plant 5 million trees and bamboo for greening and restoring land in the country.
11 June 2021 marked an exciting new chapter in Ghana as the country embarked on a mission dubbed the “Green Ghana Project” to plant 5 million trees including bamboo. Spearheaded by the Ministry of Land and Natural Resources with the full support of the President of Ghana, the project received both financial and material support from the private sector, non-governmental agencies and international development organisations. The project was designed in response to the clarion call by various stakeholders to pay critical attention to the alarming rate of forest depletion, land degradation and the adverse impact of climate variability, including long dry spells, increased temperature and regular flooding event.
INBAR spearheading bamboo development
Over the past two decades, INBAR West Africa Regional Office (WARO) has played a significant role in promoting bamboo as a socio-economically and environmentally useful resources in Ghana. Several projects including bamboo biomass energy, artisan’s skills training and diversification of Ghana’s bamboo resource base through the introduction of new bamboo species, bamboo nursery establishments among other interventions have been implemented at the lower levels to support smallholder farmers, artisans and entrepreneurs. At the high level, INBAR has nurtured a strong partnership with many institutions, among others the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resource, the Forestry Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency to develop national bamboo programmes and policies, foster South-South cooperation with countries like China and support the establishment of a Bamboo and Rattan Development Programme and the Bamboo and Rattan Unit in 2002 and 2018 respectively. INBAR continues to influence the discourse around bamboo development, advocating for bamboo to be considered a vital non-timber forest product that could contribute to the gross domestic product of Ghana.
In early 2020, two government agencies, the Forestry Commission and the Volta River Authority (VRA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding, witnessed by INBAR WARO to implement the collaborative project “Bamboo for the Protection of the Volta Lake” to keep it pristine and manage sustainably, the Volta River system whose watershed constitutes about 40% of the landmass of Ghana. This effort emanated from the alarming degradation of the catchment area of the dam due to the intensifying economic activities and rising unauthorised infrastructure. Such unsanctioned activities have increased sedimentation in the lake and negatively impacted the water flow regime. In this collaborative project, bamboo species will be planted in the 23 riparian communities along both the Eastern and Western banks of the Volta Gorge in the Asuogyaman district and on the 270-hectare area to demarcate the boundaries of VRA acquired lands, create a buffer zone to prevent encroachment and reduce soil erosion and sedimentation of the lake.
The commemoration of the Green Ghana day at the premises of the Volta River Authority signalled the beginning of implementing the collaborative project to establish a bamboo plantation along the banks of the Volta Lake. INBAR was invited by the Bamboo and Rattan Unit to participate in the bamboo planting along the 280 feet contour of the dam and create awareness on bamboo utilisation as a resource for the restoration and protection of river banks and catchment areas. A total of 15,000 bamboo seedlings were presented to commence planting along the lake. Since its establishment in 2018, the Bamboo and Rattan Unit has received financial and technical support from INBAR and some major outcomes from this support include the Ghana Bamboo and Rattan Development Strategic Plan 2020-2024 and the Bamboo Germplasm establishment.
Under the collaborative effort, INBAR through its flagship programme “Inter-Africa Bamboo Smallholder Farmers Livelihood Development Programme” will support the Bamboo and Rattan Unit to produce and supply 245,000 bamboo seedlings to Volta River Authority this year and will provide technical training on bamboo propagation and sustainable bamboo plantation management.
INBAR hopes to work with the Volta River Authority and Bamboo and Rattan Unit to develop bamboo livelihood programs and build the capacities of the communities surrounding the Volta Lake.