The Resilient Ecosystems and Sustainable Transformation of Rural Economies project, otherwise known as the RESTORE project has been launched at Bibiani in the Western North Region of Ghana.
The project is being implemented by the Rainforest Alliance in collaboration with Olam Food Ingredients with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The project which will be implemented simultaneously in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire aims to demonstrate a scalable and regionally replicable model for community-led governance, natural resource management (NRM), biodiversity conservation, and climate change mitigation and resilience that aligns with regional and government priorities in cocoa production landscapes in the Guinean forests of Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire
During the launch of the project, the Agreement Officer Representative of the West Africa Regional Mission of USAID, Mr. Victor Mombu stated that the RESTORE project is part of a larger global initiative called the Health, Ecosystems, and Agriculture for Resilient Thriving Societies (HEARTH) which represents USAID’s commitment to cross sectoral programming to advance sustainable development.
He further explained that USAID knows that cocoa is a leading export commodity in Ghana and sustains the livelihoods of many communities and families. Unfortunately, agricultural expansion in general has been a major contributor to deforestation and loss of biodiversity, making the West African Region among the fastest deforestation rates in the world. This is why his outfit has committed about 7 million US Dollars to support the Rainforest Alliance and its private sector partners to support local efforts to increase cocoa production and incomes of farmers by promoting good agronomic practices and the introduction of additional livelihood interventions such as beekeeping to target women and youth.
The Manager for Landscapes and Communities at Rainforest Alliance Ghana, Ms. Matilda Agyapong explained that the RESTORE project which will be implemented primarily along the Sui River Landscape in Ghana has four main deliverables; Increase tree cover on and off the farm in the cocoa production landscapes through tree planting initiatives, Set up Landscape Management Boards (LMB) to enable effective and inclusive participatory governance for conserving forests and restoring degraded land, Build capacity and market incentives for farmers to apply climate-smart farming practices and increase benefits from cocoa farming for women and young people and Facilitate economic diversification in cocoa farming communities, creating enabling conditions for economic and social empowerment of women and young people.
She expressed her appreciation on behalf of the Rainforest Alliance to the project partners, USAID and Olam Food Ingredients as well as other local partners such as the chiefs and opinion leaders of the Project implementation communities for their support thus far. She was optimistic that over the next five years, the RESTORE project will improve the lives and livelihoods of both the people and forests lands of the Sui River Enclave where the project will be implemented.
The Rainforest Alliance is an international non-profit organization working to create a world where people and nature thrive together through the creation of a more sustainable world using social and market forces to protect nature and improve the lives of farmers and forest communities.
The organization which is operational in over 130 countries across the globe including Ghana, works to achieve its mission, by partnering with diverse allies around the world to drive positive change across global supply chains in many critical natural landscapes through the implementation of proven and scalable solutions on the ground.