Biofuel production in sustainable land management in selected communities in the coastal and northern savannah zone of Ghana

The project will be implemented in ten rural communities in the coastal savannah zone in Gomoa East District of the Central Region and four rural communities in Awutu District of the Central Region (Bawjiase, Obra Kyere). These districts constitute part of the Savannah agro-ecological zones with mono modal rainfall pattern. Rainfall amount varies from 645 mm to 1,250 mm per annum with a mean of 1,250 mm. A long dry period of more than 5 months follows with little agricultural activity and limited income during the period.

The areas consist of a short drought and fire resistant deciduous trees interspersed with open savannah grassland and marginal forests (in the case of the coastal savannah). Grass cover is very sparse and in most areas, the land is bare and severely eroded. The vegetation consists, typically, of a ground cover of grasses of varying heights interspersed with fire resistant, deciduous, broad-leaved trees at the forest margins in the south. This grade into a more open grassland with widely spaced shorter trees towards the north.

The targeted districts are not highly populated; however, the fertility rate is much higher than the national average, reaching 3.6% compared to a national rate of 2.7%. The average population densities in 2000 are among the lowest in Ghana (21 persons per sq. km. in the Northern Region and 31 persons per sq. km. in the Upper West) but ecological degradation seems to be the most acute. With the current state of population growth – coupled with the low population densities in some of the communities.

Socio-economic Characteristics

Agriculture is the predominant livelihood strategy for people in this area and it is the most important activity in terms of space employing about 90% of the labour force. Agriculture is not merely an economic activity; for most people, but it has been a way of life for many centuries. The economic base of the areas hinge on smallholder agriculture with over 98 percent of the population depending on agriculture for their livelihood. The crops grown include Guinea corn, maize, yams, vegetables, and beans.


The project areas are experiencing land degradation as seen by soil erosion, water scarcity, reduced agricultural productivity and decreased nutritional value of food crops. Land degradation and drought are causing severe hardship for many people who directly depend upon the natural resources for survival. Women and children, in particular, bear the greatest burden in times of drought. Women are responsible for hauling water and firewood for the household, and desertification can add hours to labour to an already fully charged workday. During food scarcity, the health of women and children are also at greater risk.

The constraints to agricultural development in these areas include erratic rainfall pattern, low soil fertility, striga weed infestation. There are inadequate irrigation facilities, theft of livestock (especially cattle), high post harvest losses, poor land tenure system (land is vested in the Landlords/Tendambas), inaccessible roads and annual wildfires. The farmers continue to migrate/shift and clear virgin/new farm lands for crop production as a result of decline in crop yield due to declining soil fertility and low or unavailable market for their traditional crops, which is also staple food. They destroy the ecology of these areas with all the attendant environmental problems.

The high incidence of bushfires and alarming rate of tree felling for fuel-wood and charcoal production has contributed to deforestation of large tracts of land. The deforestation process has changed the water-holding capacity of the soil and the percolation needed to recharge groundwater aquifers. It also increases surface evaporation, resulting in a loss of moisture into the atmosphere. Denuded soils are more vulnerable to erosion leading to loss of arable agricultural farmlands and increased siltation. The result is wide spread poverty which underpins the actions of the local people towards the environment.


Main Objectives

The main objective of this project is to develop the capacities of peasant farmers and enhance their opportunities to invest in sustainable agroforestry management practices that incorporate the cultivation of sunflower and jatropha carcus to address land degradation whilst ensuring food security and commercial production of biofuel within the context of the United Nations Convention to combat desertification and climate change mitigation.

Specific Objectives

The specific objectives of the project are:

- To develop and sustain the capacities of rural farmers to increase community investment in sustainable land management through market access and trade.

- To assist rural communities to restore degraded lands through integrated water and soil management, community based forest woodlot/agro-forestry, wildfires management, natural regeneration establishment and cultivation of sunflower and jatropha carcus.
- To support sustainable livelihood enterprise development by assisting the farmer groups to set up biofuel processing mills, and silos to store and sell grains and cereals.

Project Justification

The project has been formulated within the context of the United Nations Convention to combat desertification and climate change mitigation. It is also in line with the OP 4 strategy of the GEF-SGP in Ghana. The project also fulfils the National Poverty Reduction Strategy. Investment in biofuel will earn farmers ready cash which can be used to sustainable land management. The residues of jatropha and sunflower will be used as organic fertilizer to improve soil fertility. Farmers can maintain and farm on old farmlands for a long time without destroying new /virgin lands. They will be assisted. There is a guaranteed market for the products.

It is estimated that 1,000 hectares will be cultivated to grow sunflower and jatropha and agroforestry. In the short term (3 months), sunflower seeds will be used to produce crude sunflower oil for biodiesel. In the long term (18 months), jatropha will augment the biodiesel output.

The biodiesel plant will be sited at a central position, preferably near the marketing center to convert all the crude oil into biodiesel to be distributed to consumers. Biodiesel produces approximately 85% less carbon dioxide emissions and almost 100% less sulphur dioxide.Combustion of biodiesel alone provides over 90% reduction in total unburned hydrocarbons; and a 75%- 90% reduction in aromatic hydrocarbons.

Biodiesel further provides significant reductions in particulates and carbon monoxide han petroleum diesel fuel.Biodiesel provides a slightly increase or decrease in Noxices depending on engine family and testing procedures.Based on Ames Mutagencity tests,biodiesel provides a 90% reduction in cancer risks.

Biodiesel is 11% safe to handle and transport because it is biodegradable as sugar and10 times less toxic than table salt .When burned in a diesel engine,biodiesel replaces the exhaust odour of petroleum diesel with the pleasnt smell of pop corn .

Expected Outputs

The expected outputs of the project are:

• Capacities of farmer groups developed to incorporate the cultivation of biofuel plants under improved agroforestry farming systems to restore 1,000 ha of degraded lands
• Three (3) local enterprises established to own and operate biofuel processing plants capable of processing.
• A biofuel processor owned by farmers groups and established to process crude sunflower and jatropha oil into biodiesel

Twenty prospective beneficiary groups have already been sensitized on the need to fight climate change using bio fuels and the economic benefits of integrating sunflower and jatropha cultivation in their farming activities and the environmental conservation benefits associated with such a project. Inspection of all farm lands and 4 selected communities for crude oil and biodiesel processing plants installation will be done between March 10–17, 2008.By March 30, 2008 200 prospective beneficiary farmers would have been trained in sunflower and jatropha cultivation. It is expected that orders would be placed for 3 crude oil and 1 biodiesel processing plants and; 3MT of sunflower seeds for cultivation in April 2008.between May and June, 2008, 1,500 acres of land should have been prepared for by 200 farmers in 20 groups for jatropha and sunflower cultivation/planting. By July 15, all farmers would have received all their inputs, seeds and organic fertilizer and by July 31, 2008 all farms should have been planted. Between August 15- 27, 2008, monitoring of all project sites should have been completed and reports submitted by beneficiary groups and service provider to GEF/SGP for evaluation.

Weed control of all the 1,000 ha should have been done by August 31, 2008 and organic fertilizer applied to the crops. In September the processing plants will be installed and tested. By October 20, 2008 8 people from the various communities where the processing plants will be sited would have received training in operating and servicing of the processing plants.

It is expected that between October 27-30, 2008 another monitoring exercise will take place to evaluate the project in all the communities. Harvesting of seeds is expected to start from November 15 to December 23; 2008.Crude oil processing will begin from January 5, 2009 to February 20, 2009.Biodiesel processing and distribution will begin from February 25- March 25.

Final monitoring and evaluation of the projects in all beneficiary communities would have been completed by April 2009.

Expected results are:
1,500 acres of land to be cultivated to grow sunflower and jatropha for biodiesel. Expected yield are sunflower 200 MT and 1,500MT of jatropha seeds.
500Mt of crude sunflower oil and 300MT of jatropha oil are expected to be milled.


The beneficiary groups are only being assisted to implement the project. This project is designed in such a way that the farmers have been sensitized enough for them to make an informed decision about the environmental advantages and more importantly the economic benefits to be derived due to high returns on investment and ready market for the produce.
The groups are provided with goods and services which they pay for upon delivery. They control their resources and do disbursement as when necessary. They approve of goods and services before delivery.

They have their own organizational structures and are registered entities. No decision is forced on them.

The project site or community is selected by the group and live within these communities where the project is sited.

They directly receive and control the incomes that accrue from the project.

It is expected that at the end of the project when yield is good and there is ready market for the produce a lot of families will embrace and replicate the integration of jatropha and sunflower in their farming activities.


Risk factors:
1. Selection of water logged lands will affect crop production and yield
2. Late release of funds for project
3. Non commitment of beneficiary groups
4. Late, or inadequate supply and application of farming inputs
5. Procurement of inferior and inappropriate inputs or machinery
6. Exclusion of beneficiary groups from project formulation, implementation, and
7. Vagaries of the weather
8. In adherence of good agronomic practices by farmers
9. Government policies on biofuels, foreign exchange environment etc.

1. Macro economic conditions will remain the same or not change much
2. Green fuels will remain an important energy agenda of the government to mitigate
Climate change
3. The world market producer price of sunflower seeds and jatropha will remain
attractive to farmers.


Monitoring will involve all stakeholders-GEF/SGP, Beneficiary groups and the Service provider. Inputs for the methodology and general framework for monitoring will come from all stakeholders.

There are three monitoring phases in this project each conducted at regular intervals. Each monitoring activity marks the end of major implementation phase and commencement of another. Each monitoring verifies the project against the milestones.

The first monitoring comes after planting has been done. Indicators to be evaluated will include total number of beneficiaries who actually received training in sunflower and jatropha production techniques and those actually implementing the project, number of acreage planted and the established plant population and crop development on the field. Other indicators will be to verify if the implementation timeline for inputs delivery were strictly adhered to, and if not, how that will affect the whole project and the steps needed to remedy it.

The second monitoring comes after installation and test trial of the processing plants in the various communities. This activity allows all stakeholders to visit the farms again to see crop development on the farms and have a look at the plants and observe them working and ready for the main harvests from the farms.

The third and final monitoring will be done after completion of the project. The final products will be quantified against the set target. These include the total number of beneficiaries who benefited from the project, those that implemented it, then total acreage cultivated and the yield obtained, the quantity of crude oil and biodiesel processed and estimated income realized from sales. All evaluations will be done to see if the project achieved its objectives, and if not what went wrong and the steps to take to resolve them and the way forward

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Project Snapshot

Tema Cooperative Sunflowers Associations
Area Of Work:
Climate Change Mitigation
Land Degradation
Operational Phase:
Phase 4
Grant Amount:
US$ 25,000.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 22,300.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 9,900.00
Project Number:
Start Date:
End Date:
Satisfactorily Completed

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Project Characteristics and Results
Planning gef grant
No immediate plans
Gender Focus
Special support are to be given to women into producing and owning biofuel production plants
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Tonnes of CO2 decreased or avoided by energy efficient and renewable energy technologies or applying environmentally sustainable transport practices introduced by SGP Project 5
Number of innovations or new technologies developed / applied 2
Number of local policies informed in climate change focal area 1
Number of national policies informed in climate change focal area 1
Number of CBOs / NGOs participated / involved in SGP project 10
Number of CBOs / NGOs formed or registered through the SGP project 5
Number of women participated / involved in SGP project 10
Number and type of support linkages established with local governments/authorities 2
Hectares of degraded land rest 1000
Hectares of land sustainably managed by project 1200
Tons of soil erosion prevented 500
Number of innovations or new technologies developed / applied 3
Number of local policies informed in land degradation focal area 1
Number of national policies informed in land degradation focal area 1
Increase in household income by increased income or reduced costs due to SGP project 30
Number of households who have benefited* from SGP project 50
Number of individuals (gender diaggregated) who have benefited* from SGP project 30