Improving the management practices of cocoa farmers and forest fringe communities in agroforest landscape corridors of Afigya Sekyere portion of the Afram Watershed (East) Forest Reserves for the Conservation of Biodiversity and sustainable forest management
Improving the management practices of cocoa farmers and forest fringe communities in agroforest landscape corridors of Afigya Sekyere portion of the Afram Watershed (East) Forest Reserves for the Conservation of Biodiversity and sustainable forest management
Definition of Problem
Past management of the Afram East Headwaters Forest Reserve has resulted in the entire reserve being classified as a convalescence reserve given its poor stocking and regeneration potential. Continual degradation has necessitated the conversion of an increasing number of compartments into forest plantations. Extreme land hunger exists within the communities fringing the forest reserve. These communities have participated in Taungya developments in the past and are currently engaged in same. Key issues resulting in the failure of the past Taungyas have been identified as the land “insecurity” of the participating communities, the absence of a share in the tree plantations, the resultant lack of a sense of ownership in the plantation development as well as the inability of the FSD to effectively maintain the established plantations. Poverty is high in the forest fringe farming communities of Afram East Headwaters Forest Reserve in the Afigyase Sekyere East District. Most of the land area is degraded (Plate 1) and arable land for cultivation is scarce. Farming is the main source of occupation and livelihood activity. However, income earned from farming is seasonal and inadequate to cater for the numerous household needs. This often leads to financial stress during most of the year. Moreover, farmers idle during certain times of the year, especially in the off-farming season. Any activity to generate income for the poor farming communities either in the farming season or most especially during the off-farming season will improve their living standards. The modified taungya system operating in the forest reserve may not be sustainable in the long run, in that, the farmers will be allowed to farm on the forestland as soon as the planted timber tree species close canopy. Hence, introduction of the alternative livelihood scheme by the project will increase income levels and reduce poverty in the communities.
The farmers mainly employ family labour for their farming activities. The only external assistance has been provided by the Forestry Services Division’s under the National Plantation Programme that offered technical advice and financial incentives on timber tree plantations from the taungya system. This activity has been short lived and contributed to temporal relief of communities’ poverty, calling for the need for sustainable livelihood schemes to improve living conditions in the forest fringe communities.

To effectively rehabilitate the Afram East Headwaters forest reserve, the FSD requires the assistance of the fringe communities to undertake the establishment and protection of the plantations from fire. The communities shall also be required to undertake the tending and protection activities for the plantations. This requires that alternative livelihood avenues need to be developed as part of the plantation programme, for the communities to maintain their interest in the maintenance of the plantations. To win the confidence of the fringe communities in the execution of this programme, there is the need to outline in detail, the extent of the programme, the various roles to be played, the benefits to be derived and incentives provided to facilitate the participation of the communities.

4.2 Project Objective
The purpose of this project is to improve the management practices of cocoa farmers, forest fringe communities and forest reserve managers within the agroforest landscape corridors of Afigya Sekyere portion of the Afram Watershed (East) Forest Reserves for the conservation of biodiversity and sustainable forest management. The project seeks to alleviate poverty and ensure sustainable rural livelihoods for forest dependent communities (Miaso, Mianya, Asarekwao, and Akwamu Kotoko) through the development of rural micro enterprises.

The specific objectives are to:
• Develop and improve viable community alternative livelihood off-farm enterprises.
• Build local entrepreneurial capacities for micro enterprise production, management, and marketing.
• Reduce over-dependence on meager seasonal farm incomes and minor forest products

1. Capacities of forest fringe communities in integrated natural resource management and biodiversity conservation developed and sustained.
2. Degraded areas within the Afram Headwater forest reserve restored through integrated taungya system and enrichment planting.
3. Alternative livelihood activities that conserve biodiversity supported in four vulnerable communities
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Project Snapshot

Integrated Forest Management Organization
Area Of Work:
Grant Amount:
US$ 41,900.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 18,500.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 29,500.00
Project Number:
Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
Emphasis on Sustainable Livelihoods
1. Income levels of the beneficiaries increased by at least 140% by end of project 2. Level of food security (frequency of food shortage periods; local agricultural productivity) increase to cover all year 3. 100 indigenous people given informal education in agroforestry,, nursery development, tree planting, biodiversity, business management under the project? 4. Improvement in the level of traditional health practices in the project area. 5. Increase in level of gender equity (women’s income generation activities increased by 50%) 6. 100 ha of forest community created 7. Three women’s groups united to credit institutions
Significant Participation of Indigenous Peoples
All beneficiaries are indigenous people.
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Number of globally significant species protected by project 2
Hectares of globally significant biodiversity area protected or sustainably managed by project 250
Number of innovations or new technologies developed/applied 3
Number of local policies informed in biodiversity focal area 2
Number of national policies informed in biodiversity focal area 1
Number of CBOs / NGOs participated / involved in SGP project 2
Number of CBOs / NGOs formed or registered through the SGP project 3
Number of women participated / involved in SGP project 30
Number of indigenous people participated/involved in SGP project 200
Increase in household income by increased income or reduced costs due to SGP project 200
Number of households who have benefited* from SGP project 60

SGP Country office contact

Dr. George Buabin Ortsin
Ms. Lois Sarpong
+233 505740909


UNDP, Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme P.O. Box 1423
Accra, Greater Accra, 233-302
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