by Kofi Adu Domfeh
A new private sector Tree Investment Policy (TIP) should see 50 percent of Ghana’s degraded forest reserves recovered by 2050 and contribute to the global drive at climate change mitigation.
The ambitious goal is set by Vision 2050 Forestry Ghana, which already has 150million trees of different species in 850 communities in Ghana since it started work in 1988 as a non-governmental organization.
The annual rate of forest depletion in Ghana is increasing alarmingly, with over 85 percent of the forests already depleted. Livelihoods are threatened as the changing climate has exacerbated water bodies drying up, draught and faming as well as diseases rising.
The TIP will convert 200 thousand trees into cash to enable the company provide financial assistance to its network of farmers and cultivate one billion trees in five years, says Shelley Snell, CEO of Vision 2050 Ghana.
Officials say part of the money raised will be used to process lumber for domestic and international consumption as well as provide sustainable briquette charcoal for domestic use.
“As an investment plan, TIP will allow 50 women, 20 men and five corporate bodies the opportunity to contribute $50 per tree and earn $500 in the fifth year through the tree lease and buy back agreement”, explained Shelley Snell. The minimum investment is 100 trees.
The organization engages folks in rural communities, with a target of reducing unemployment – currently has a network of 300,000 farmers spread across the country.
“Tree planting is such that you don’t reap the benefits in time and it came to a time when farmers nearly gave up the tree planting”, observed Adjei Mohammed, a farmer at Wassa Akropong on the Vision 2050 Ghana programme.
Following series of sensitization engagements, the farmers have a renewed interest in agroforestry and Mohammed is hopeful the company will protect the interest the farmers.
Researchers have predicted that fluctuation in the level of precipitation in the range of 5%-20% is as a result of human activity, which includes indiscriminate cutting down of trees.
Tree planting is a means to reduce the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to slow the rate of global warming.