Beneficiaireis of livelihood support programmes will operate credit rotation.
Both farmers and field staff will be sufficiently trained to undertake all activities relating to the selected enterprises. For the communities the areas that training would be required are as follows:
Nursery construction and maintenance (identification of improved seed source, germination treatments and techniques for the selected species, nursery soil treatment, watering regime, nursery nutrition, pest control, etc)
Handling of planting materials (lifting and transportation and storage of seedlings to minimize casualties)
Pegging and planting (Methods and equipment used)
Pruning techniques and procedures
Thinning techniques and procedure
Wildfire control and prevention techniques
Plantation timber harvesting and transportation
The knowledge, skills, and competence of all parties responsible for managing the field operations should be improved to ensure adherence to best practice and optimum development of the plantations
Notable Community Participation
The Esuboni Integrated Forest Management Committee shall be responsible for the implementation of the project. Interest groups for each enterprise shall be formed and trained to be involved in the implementation of the activity. A multi-stakeholder Project Steering Committee (PSC) made up of representatives from each funding agency will be established to provide policy direction and oversight responsibility for project implementation, and will ensure that funds are used solely for the purposes for which they were earmarked. The PSC shall meet every quarter to review project implementation. Other members of the project implementation Committee will include:
• Chairpersons of enterprise development sub-group
• Representatives of the traditional chiefs nominated by the Chiefs;
• One representative each from the queen mothers; and
Two female representatives from women interest groups.
The local people would be given the requisite training to enable their participation in the biodiversity and socio-economic monitoring.
The implementation of the project will inform Government decision of community involvement in forest management and livelihood support.
The proejct has special training programme for woemn in effective marketing and packaging of products.
Significant Participation of Indigenous Peoples
The proejct will work with indigenous people around the Esuboni forest reserve including Asanteman, Aprokumasi, Asuoso, Kofi Dade, Owusukwai, Onyame Nti and Small London
Promoting Public Awareness of Global Environment
The project wil educate the indigenous people on biodiveristy conservation, climate change and persisiten organic pulltants and ensure that the farmers spread the awareness to other groups.
Emphasis on Sustainable Livelihoods
The project will support micro-enterprises in Grass cutter rearing, Small ruminant production (Sheep and Goats), Poultry production (introduction of exotic cocks), Snail farming, Mushroom production and honey production (Beekeeping) supported in six vulnerable communities
The provision of sustainable livelihood is to play a significant role in the lives of the beneficiary farmers. The livelihoods are to be important sources income generating activities. However, the implementation of the livelihood has been delayed due to the late disbursement of funds from other stakeholders including GEF, European Union, etc. As a result, the sustainable livelihood support scheme was suspended. In spite of the lifting of the suspension because of the release of funds from the GEF, it has also affected the strategies and modalities initially to be put in place for the actual take off of the livelihood activities.
The implementation of sustainable livelihoods is potentially expected to contributing significantly to the socio-economic development and well-being of the beneficiary communities. It is in this regard that the Community Forestry Management Project (CFMP) aims at alleviating poverty and ensuring sustainable management and utilization of the country’s forest resources through collaborative forest plantation development with forest fringe communities. Its objectives are to improve household incomes and increase the supply of timber to meet the present and projected supply demand gap. The design of the project was based on contributing to improve the living standard of farm families based on the principles of the Modified Taungya System (MTS).
The project has four components; namely Integrated Forest Management; Alternative Livelihood Support Scheme; Capacity Building and Institutional strengthening. This progress report is a component of the sustainable livelihood support scheme and it aims at raising the household incomes of the project beneficiaries’ through investment whiles supporting plantation development. The Community Forestry Management Project (CFMP) under section 4.5.10 in the project appraisal is to provide support for the implementation of a sustainable livelihood scheme to raise the incomes of the project beneficiaries.
The objective of this report is to provide update of strategic livelihood investment activities being undertaking towards the preparation of the beneficiary communities to undertake sustainable livelihood enterprises.
2.0 Progress report
2.1 Plantation achievement
The CFMP aims at alleviating poverty of the forest fringe communities as collaborators to ensuring sustainable management and utilization of the country’s forest resources in the development of forest plantation. The long gestation period of the plantation which the farmers have benefit share of (40%); the project’s sustainable livelihood support scheme component is to serve as incentives to generate incomes whiles waiting for the long-term benefits from the planted trees. The reports from the project sites indicate that there have been considerable achievements in the plantation development in the project working forest reserves by the beneficiary communities. The table below indicates the plantation achievement by the beneficiary communities in the various project sites:
Plantation achievement for 2006
Municipality Forest reserve No.of community Target (ha) Achievement (ha)
Sunyani Yaya 10 880 862
Offinso Afram Headwaters 12 745 988*
Offinso Asubima 10 310 310
Begoro Worobong south 9 138 138
Akim Oda Esuboni 2 2
988*= including 745ha for 2006; 125ha deficit of 2005; 118ha by other non-beneficiary farmers
The plantation achievements as indicated in the table above show that the beneficiary communities are making considerable impact in the rehabilitation of the degraded forest reserves.
2.2 Sustainable Livelihood Enterprises Development Training
The grant capital to start up the alternative livelihoods has been provided by the GEF. The grant is supposed to be put into CDF from which finances for alternative livelihood enterprises would be provided. A number of training programmes have been outlined to prepare the beneficiary communities to access the fund to undertake sustainable livelihood enterprises.
The purpose of the training programmes to equip and assist in investment in ensuring success of the activities towards the implementation of alternative livelihood enterprises.
The project unit and MOFA in consultation with the beneficiary communites have identified training needs for successful livelihood investment. The following training programmes which have been outlined for the beneficiary communities including:
• Group dynamics
• Determination of mode of operations of livelihood groups and formulation of bye-laws
• Investment strategies on the preferred livelihood options
• Management of selected livelihoods including the construction of livestock pens and other cages
Training programmes on group dynamics and determination of mode of operations and formulation of bye-laws have been provided for the beneficiary communities. On the average, the livelihood group size is 15 people of farmers. The group dynamics training have been undertaking with the objective of putting in place local institutional structures on management of sustainable livelihood enterprises through formation of functional and effective groups. In Agricultural Extension initiatives, it makes sense to work with groups as working with individuals is very expensive, time consuming and laborious. Groups can easily take risks than individuals because cost and consequences are shared among the group members. The mode of operations and formulation of bye-laws are to regulate the individual farmers in the group based on schedule of activities and rules and regulations. In live with the above training programmes, the beneficiaries would continue to be equipped with knowledge on livelihood.
2.2.1 Institutional structures and management
In order to ensure smooth operation of the CDF, the beneficiary communities were called upon to elect local executives who will ensure that the livelihood activities function well within each community. It was also important for the formation of District level executives who will be representatives of the various local executives. The main mandate of the District executives is to steer the disbursements of the funds to communities, supervise implementation, collate and submit field reports of activities in all the project communities within the District in collaboration with the District Implementation Committee (DIC).
3.0 Global Environmental Facility Fund and Reporting Format
This Global Environmental Facility (GEF) has committed US$300,000 to support in financing income generating enterprises under the sustainable livelihood support scheme component. Currently, the GEF has released an amount of about HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS ($100,000). This has necessitated the need to provide training and other support to the beneficiary communities to investing in preferred livelihood enterprises.
Following the released of the funds institutional structures; the various livelihood groups have been formed. There have been elections of Local and District livelihood enterprises executives. The duties and responsibilities of the executives among others are to see to the operationalisation of the Community Development Fund (CDF) and investment activities.
The CDF is an important aspect of the sustainable livelihood support scheme. It is to assist beneficiary farmers in managing investment proposals in order to be able to invest in viable enterprises. The incomes to be generated are to be reimbursed into revolving fund in accordance with the agreement of the beneficiary communities. The management of the CDF is to be determined in consultation involving the beneficiary groups to ensure ownership of the investment, increase commitment of project activities and livelihood activities which would ensure success of investment in the enterprises.
The GEF has its reporting format which is to use as guide; activity work plan which will enable the beneficiaries’ access money for investment in livelihood activities. There have been collaborated training of GEF activity workplan format training involving the GEF, CFMP Project Unit, District FSD Offices, and MoFA. The training was aimed on reporting modalities on the technical and financial systems through the activity work plan. This was to enable the beneficiaries’ access money and to guide the beneficiary communities to enhance smooth execution of the fund for alternative livelihood activities. The beneficiaries were again taken through the GEF Project Progress (Technical and Financial) Reporting Format. These were to help them to understand GEF Small Grants requirement for reporting. The issues of participatory monitoring systems were also elaborated using the GEF monitoring format.
4.0 Cost benefit analysis of livelihood investment
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) has been one key governmental organization providing technical services to the fringe communities under the CFMP. Regarding the alternative livelihood enterprises, MOFA mandates is to ensure that agriculture related livelihood enterprises selected by the beneficiaries would be well implemented to optimize maximum benefits.
It is therefore the duty of MOFA to ensure that the housing, the right breed of stocks, vertinary services, processing, storage and marketing of these enterprises livestocks knowledge will be well imparted to the beneficiaries.
The MoFA which is the leading collaborator for sustainable livelihood investment have provided cost-benefit analysis on the preferred livelihoods.
6.0 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CONSIDERATION
This progress report has looked at the reports which indicate that strategies and modalities are being prepared towards the implementation of alternative livelihood enterprises within the project sites.
The project would be said to be successful if there is an effective establishment and management of trees in the forest reserves through local community involvement. Whilst on the same vein, there is a considerable poverty reduction through the undertaking of economic activities by beneficiary livelihood enterprises groups that will result in significant increase in income levels to improving in the standard of living in the beneficiary communities.
Through an updated baseline reports to initiate the implementation of the livelihood activities, the beneficiary communities are in a position to be equip with adequate knowledge on investment strategies.
The updated assessment of the reports and observation reveal there is the need to build the capacity of the beneficiary communities for effective and efficient livelihood enterprises management
It is being recommended that in order to invest in viable and profitable livelihood enterprises the beneficiary communities should have adequate training on investment strategies and business orientations on the preferred income generating activities. Hence, the GEF may continue to provide funds in addition to the first disbursement to the beneficiary communities. More importantly, the additional funds increase the capital base on the beneficiary communities.