News just in from our partner in Ghana, Sungmaale Integrated Herbalists Association (SIHA), funded through ITF Sustainable Community Forestry grant programme and Worktop Express.
The project aims at training and mobilizing farmers to raise seedlings, training and supporting women to make soap and cosmetics from forest products, establishing by-laws for fire prevention and management and regeneration of degraded land through tree planting. Over the coming six months, 15000 trees will be planted including Moringa, Caccia, Albizia and Teak. Farmers will be trained to make compost and young people identified to learn about bee-keeping.
The rainfall this year in the region has been unusually erratic, resulting in less water in the dugout which the nursery depends on. SIHA had to reduce the number of trees in order to save water, planting 12000 assorted seeds: Moringa 60%, Caccia 25% and Albizia 15%.
The potting-up of seeds was originally to be undertaken by farmers, but the dry weather and late start to the project resulted in lower participation than expected. Farmers are anxious about their crops, and the slightly late start to the project meant they had less time to accord to the project.
Despite these problems, solutions have been found and new alliances made. The Ugandan Forestry Department has agreed to supply an extra 2000 teak seedlings while a partner NGO has also agreed to supply 1000 caccia seedlings. As for the process of planting out the seeds in the coming phase of the project, help has come in the form of school children and nearby communities.
The remainder of the project will focus on planting out the trees, training farmers in compost making and selecting young people to learn the art of beekeeping.