The Vice President of Ghana, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has launched the Ghana Shea Landscape Emission Reductions Project (GLSERP) for farmers in the five regions of the north.
The project seeks to mitigate the effects of climate change on the fragile ecosystem of the Northern Savannah Landscape and improve the shea value chain, particularly for the many women engaged in the entire value chain.
At the launching ceremony in Tamale last Friday, Vice President Bawumia said the Shea Landscape Project would be the second emission reductions programme to be implemented under the REDD+ process in Ghana, after the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+.
The project is focused on the northern landscapes, which are currently undergoing rapid deforestation and degradation, including the loss of valuable shea trees.
The GSLERP will provide a unique opportunity to engage the Shea commodity and its by-products on a bigger scale, which are income-generating activities for over 600,000 women.
Ghana is currently the fourth-largest producer of Shea globally. The project is expected to be successful by planting over 1.7 million shea trees over a 7-year project period.
The government, since 2017, has supported scientific research on the shea plant to make it a reliable income-generating product.
The work undertaken by the COCOBOD, has led to an important breakthrough, including reducing the gestation period of the shea plant from over 20 years to an average of 3 years, the Vice President disclosed.
Dr Bawumia said it was against that background that the government committed in the 2022 budget statement to embark on projects and programmes that would promote the cultivation of shea in the north, just as cocoa in the south, to transform the local economies of the shea region.
The implementation of GSLERP is crucial, Vice President Bawumia stated, as the project would address about nine Sustainable Development Goals.
He said the project would address the financial constraints of shea farmers, ensure gender equality in the shea-production systems, promote the business development of shea farming among natives, decrease deforestation and enhance fire management covering almost 500,000 hectares.
Vice President Bawumia said the project could be achieved when stakeholders fully commit to it through collective ownership.
The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor expressed the government’s gratitude to the chiefs for banning the harvesting of wood and the burning of same into charcoal, saying it would go a long in the fight climate change.