Manhene Meets Prince Charles –

Katakyie Kwasi Bumangama II greeting Prince Charles

The Paramount Chief of Sefwi Wiawso in the Western North Region, Katakyie Kwasi Bumangama II, has met the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, to map out strategies on how to preserve forests and forest reserves.

This
was during a ceremony to launch the ‘Just Rural Transition Programme’ in London
last Thursday.

Katakyie
Bumangama II, whose region was once the leading producer of cocoa in Ghana,
expressed worry about decline in yields due to ageing and diseased farms, and
insecure farmland tenure.

He
said before the forest reserves were constituted and gazetted, there were some
family settlements with farms in the areas, which were hitherto demarcated for
protection and legally accepted as admitted farms.

The
paramount chief said weak enforcement of regulations had allowed settlements to
expand into forests, and the Forestry Commission was struggling to get such
encroachers out.

“We
cannot continue with the status quo. Together we now have an opportunity to
drive reform, make real changes to the way land and natural resources are
managed, and in the way all stakeholders – farmers, companies, governments and
civil society – engage in the production of cocoa and food crops,” he said.

Katakyie
Bumangama II, who is an experienced cocoa farmer, expressed delight in the ‘Just
Rural Transition Programme’ which he promised to be championing in his area to
bring about the transformative change towards a more resilient landscape where his
people, their livelihoods, food and nature can co-exist.

He,
however, commended government, COCOBOD and the Forestry Commission for the
reforms being introduced in Ghana, including the increase in cocoa price for
farmers, re-introduction of agric extension officers for artificial pollination,
pruning of cocoa trees as well as the re-planting of trees in all cocoa farms
and the youth in afforestation programmes.

He
said a Forest Reserve Encroachment Remediation Committee — to identify, map and profile all illegal farms
and settlements and developed a grandfathering and remediation plan to plant
trees, reduce expansion and as well as ensure that cocoa companies do not buy
from those profiled illegal farms — had been
set up and some traditional authorities were involved in the programme.

On
his part, the Prince of Wales promised to support countries and communities who
are determined to fight climate change.

He
highly commended the paramount chief for his efforts to preserve the remaining
forest reserves in his area and pledged his full support for any assistance
towards sustaining what is left.

Loading...