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The Sustainable Land and Water Management Project, which is under the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, is gradually restoring the vegetation of some degraded forest lands in some districts of the Upper East Region, particularly Builsa South.

It is being implemented through tree planting, soil erosion control mechanisms, as well as river bank protection activities and bamboo cultivation. 

These came to light when the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng paid a working visit to the region to inspect the project.

According to the minister, the 10-year World Bank project worth some $29.67 million is being funded with a Global Environment Facility in three phases.

He expressed happiness with the rate at which degraded lands are being restored.

Some component of the project is expected to provide livelihood support to beneficiary communities in the form of bee-keeping and shea butter processing in the northern savannah areas. 

The Minister was also impressed with the number of youth engaged by the project, stressing that “if all stages of the implementation of the project are adhered to, many jobs will be created to further reduce the rural-urban migration in the region.

According to Prof Frimpong Boateng, under the project government will provide grazing areas for animals in beneficiary districts and was hopeful it will be replicated across the country to avert clashes between herdsmen and farmers.

Currently, there is work ongoing in one of the grazing areas at Kalaasa in the Builsa South District, which is expected to serve local cattle owners and end conflict between farmers and cattle owners.

Builsa South District Chief Executive (DCE), Daniel Kwame Gariba, whose district is benefiting from the project, was with the job creations aspect of the project.

“The project is not only conserving degraded environment and forest land, it’s providing jobs for the teeming unemployed in the district. People are engaging in honey processing and the women especially are picking shea nuts and processing them into shea butter.”

He urged all communities that are benefiting from the project to be dedicated and watch out for people whose actions could reverse the gains made so far in the restoration farm lands.

Upper East Regional Director of Environmental Protection Agency, Asher Nkegbe, in an interview, stated that the Agency is committed to the Sustainable Land and Water Management Project and urged beneficiary communities to equally commit themselves to the success of the project, saying the project would restore degraded lands, protect water bodies and create more job opportunities.
Source: Daily Guide

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