The Sustainable Land and Water Management Project (SLWMP) being implemented in five regions of Northern Ghana is making significant impact at reversing land degradation and the improvement of agricultural productivity in the areas.
The project, being executed in the North East, Savannah, Upper East, Upper West and Northern regions, is funded by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) through the World Bank.
The 10-year project, which begun in 2010 and expected to end 2020, had supported 39,600 farmers in 247 communities in the project regions to adopt sustainable land and water management practices.
The Upper East Regional Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mr Asher Nkegbe, disclosed these at the second 2020 Local Steering Committee Meeting of the SLWMP held at Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region last Friday.
The regional director who heads the technical co-ordination office said the project is taking place in 12 districts of the beneficiary four regions.
He named the districts as Mamprugu-Moaduri and West Mamprusi in North East, West Gonja in Savannah, Sawla-Tuna-Kalba in the Northern Region, Talensi, Bawku West, Builsa South and Kassena-Nankana West in Upper East and Wa East, Daffiama-Bussie-Issa, Sissala East and Sissala West in Upper West.
Mr Nkegbe, who stated that more than 52,257 hectares of degraded land were being recovered through the project for agriculture activities, said the project had also put in place eight environmental management plans to provide management to 72,716 hectares of forest reserves in the project areas.
He said apart from the project ensuring that 1,060 hectares of land were reforested in two forest reserves, namely Kulpawn and Ambalara in the Upper West Region, six Community Resource Management Areas (CREMA) had also been established, whilst 10 dugouts had been constructed.
“The project has also ensured that a spatial development framework for the North Savannah zone is developed to guide future planning,” he said.
Mr Nkegbe, who commended the technical coordination team of the project for supporting the implementation of the project, said the establishment of buffer zones along river banks through the cultivation of bamboo plantation and riparian grasses as well as the establishment of rangeland need to be celebrated.
The Deputy Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Frank Fuseine Adongo, said one of the major challenges confronting the five regions was land degradation associated with indiscriminate bush burning, felling of trees for charcoal production and over-grassing, and expressed optimism that such problems could be addressed through the project interventions.
He commended the GEF and the World Bank, including the implementing agencies, for the support, and stressed the need for the up-scaling of the project to other communities in the country, particularly the northern parts of the country.
The forum, which attracted municipal and district planners, regional and district agriculture directors and municipal and district coordinating directors and planners for the implementing regions, was aimed at briefing the members of the committee on the progress of the implementation of the project, and to solicit for their inputs for the sustainability of the project.
FROM SAMUEL AKAPULE, BOLGATANGA