Participatory landuse planning and management

August 8, 2017

Ghana Placeholder
Ghana

Participatory landuse planning and management

About the Implementing organization

Name: Trax Program Support

Country: Ghana

Year of establishment: 1989

Type of organization: Community-based association or organization, Legally recognized non-profit status, Women’s association or organization, Indigenous group or organization

Description

Landuse conflict was one of the major challenges and the results had been infighting between herdsmen and local farmers. Women farmers were denied access to land. A community land-use planning scheme using participatory tools such as resource mapping, community mapping, transect diagram and group discussions was introduced. The focus of the land-use plans was to delineate clearly agricultural lands from grazing lands, woodlot plantations, settlement lands and lands for natural regeneration. Land management committee was formed and members trained who organize periodic community fora to promote environmental awareness, change attitudes and behaviors of the people to address environmental problems. 60% of membership of the committee was women with the remaining 40% being men. Degraded lands of marginal and unproductive areas were demarcated and placed under natural regeneration. Tree species like Neem, teak, cassia and leucaena seedlings were nursed and distributed to the farmers to plant on such degraded lands. Farmers protected the demarcated area from annual wildfires, hunting and encroachment for farming activities. A central tree nursery of 50,000 seedlings production capacity was established to produce multipurpose, indigenous and exotic tree species supplied to interested farmers. Women were allowed to pick Shea nuts from the natural regeneration areas. Wetlands and riverine forests were protected from farming. Local byelaws were enacted to enforce the landuse plan.

Nature Element

Forests / Wetlands / Rivers / Grasslands / Drylands / Wildlife

Type of Action

Protection / Awareness and education / Advocacy for land & water rights

Sustainable Development Element

Food security / Water security / Disaster risk reduction / Peace and security

Related Sustainable Development Goal(s)

      

Environmental Impacts

The natural regeneration coupled with agroforestry and planting of multipurpose and economic trees such as moringa, grafted mangoes, leucaena and other nitrogen fixing species has rejuvenated that vegetation of the area. The application of organic farming methods has promoted sustainable soil fertility and promoted the economic value of species such as moringa and grafted mango. The moringa plant helps reduce malnutrition among children and increase incomes among farmers. The traditional improved woodstoves has reduced the fast depletion of tree cover. Reduced rate of fuel wood consumption, has helped farmers especially women were trained in the construction and use of efficient energy stoves that uses less fuel wood, produces less smoke and therefore less hazardous. The project facilitated the formation of a Fire Volunteer Squad (FVS) and members trained in fire prevention, fighting and first aid techniques to serve as watchdog committee to ensure responsible environmental behavior.

Sustainable Development Impacts

Capacity building strategies take advantage of the traditional knowledge and skills in land management. Beneficiary farmers were given practical and on-field training/demonstrations on activities such as tree nursery establishment and management, tree growing, contour identification using “A” frame and spirit level, stone bunding/grass stripping, compost preparation and improved energy saving stoves construction among others. Beneficiaries acquired additional knowledge and skills leading to the adoption and application of improved land management techniques on their fields. The project trains farmers on environmentally-based and sustainable agricultural techniques that help to improve their yields and incomes and to be more environmentally friendly. Farmers are trained in simple book-keeping and village savings and loan schemes. The project specifically engages women and youth in alternative income generating activities such as dry-season farming and artisan training.

Scalability

The project relied on traditional knowledge of farmers to complement the improved methods and techniques that were taught. Especially traditional knowledge on stone lining, compost preparation and tree growing. Farmers were therefore taught how to identify contours using different tools before lining the stones along the contour to effectively control soil erosion. This impacted significantly on the success of the project as farmers combined their traditional knowledge with additional knowledge passed on to them in land management. The project created a platform at the community level, for periodic review and allowed group members to invite their colleague non-group members to shared their experiences and facilitate the process of adoption. The CTs and opinion leaders formulated bylaws to protect the environment. The project worked with other institutions to improve the environment for crop and livestock production and introduced tree growing in adjourning project communities.

Replicability

The replication of this project to other communities in the three northern regions has contribute towards addressing land degradation and general food insecurity problems. The elements being mostly replicated and adopted are the village savings and loan scheme, training of local veterinary officers to support local livestock development, and participatory landuse planning. The Government Savannah Accelerated Development project adopted the project success interventions and used most of the farmers as resource farmers. Supporting women to invest in Shea butter processing for export has also be widely adopted in the savannah region especially in the northern region.

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