The Chief and Elders of Teselima ( located in the Bole Bamboi District) and the entire community held a community stakeholders’ meeting on August 11, 2017 on the protection and preservation of the community’s environment by stopping logging and charcoal burning in the area. Back in 2014 when I was enstooled as the chief of the community, the first comment I made during my first meeting with the community was on our environment, how citizens are destroying it through logging and charcoal burning and the need to stop the practice.
Since then, we have held series of meetings with the youth on the issue, and complains have been on reduced rainfall for farming activities, reduce food crop yields, over grazing of cattle and destructive activities of Fulani headsmen, lack of employment for the youth etc. The youth have been educated on the importance of preserving the environment and the dangers of logging and charcoal burning in destroying it, which is also a factor in the reduced rainfall pattern. Due to complaints on destructive activities of Fulani headsmen and their cattle, I have reduced the number of Fulani headsmen in the community and we are working together to regulate their activities in the environment to enhance farming activities and improve food production.
The youth are still adamant to all these efforts I am making to preserve our environment for future generations. In April this year, I called on the Forestry officers in the area to make some arrest of some loggers in the forest reserve area. This has reduced logging activities, but charcoal burning which is the most destructive activity of the environment is still going on and the youth are not adhering to our advice to stop it to continue with their main farming activities.
I submitted a proposal to UNDP office for a project on economic tree planting in response to a Call for Proposals (CfP) to preserve the environment and increase food production around the Bui Dam catchment area, in order to get the youth and women in the area involved in some economic activities. We have not had any response yet, so I am waiting to hear favourably from the Office of UNDP.
When I organized the community meeting on the August 11, 2017, I called on the forestry office in the Bole District to come and emphasize on the benefits of the tree to man and why we should preserve our natural resources in our environment, especially our forests reserves for future generations.
During the meeting, we were educated on tree planting to recover our degraded lands and preserve our environment, and the youth to also go into woodlot and food crop production to limit the charcoal business or stop it completely. The Forestry Commission is ready to supply various tree seedlings free of charge for the youth to plant on their registered allocated plots of lands, which I promise every youth, whether citizen or non-citizen who is ready and want to go into active tree planting and food crop production as business.
At this instance, I urged all citizens involved in charcoal burning to register to be allocated plots of lands for their projects, and worn that anyone caught burning charcoal without registering to go into woodlot and food crop production would be arrested and prosecuted by the Forestry Commission and law enforcement agencies.
On this note, I will appeal to the Government (Forestry Commission and Ministry of Food and Agriculture) and all agricultural and environmental friendly organizations (NGOs/CBOs) to come to the aid of the Teselima community in its laudable efforts to increase food production and revamp its degraded environment to preserve it for the future generations. I want my community to be a learning example in increase food production and the climate change process in the Northern Region for other communities to emulate, for joint efforts to reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere, to promote green economy and improve living stands of our people.
Article by: Nana Fred Gyansie III, Chief of Teselima
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