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Regional News of Monday, 18 February 2008

Source: GNA

Communities get financial support for watersheds protection

Saltpond (C/R), Feb. 18, GNA - A number of communities within the Ochi-Narkwa River watershed in Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam, Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa and Mfantseman districts are to benefit from loans and grants under the Alternative Livelihoods Financial Support Scheme (ALFSS).

The ALFSS is a sub-component of the Community-Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM), of the Community-Based Rural Development Project (CBRDP).

Beneficiaries of the ALFSS are groups in communities engaged in natural resources management activities, such as, planting of trees and cover crops on degraded watersheds, erosion and bushfire control. Mr Desmond Duametu, CBRDP Institutional Specialist in charge of the Central Region announced this at a workshop for some stakeholders from the three districts at Saltpond. Mr Duametu said CBRDP, a World Bank and Agence Francaise de Developement (AFD) funded project was introduced in the country in 2005 to replace the Village Infrastructure project (VIP) as one of the principal vehicles for the implementation of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS).

He said CBRDP, which had a four-year duration had five components one of which was the Community Based Natural Resources Management. Mr Duametu said a sub-component was created to offer financial assistance in the form of loans and grants to groups to project some selected watersheds.

They include the Ponpom Watershed in Greater Accra, Mimiima Watershed in the Northern Region, Zongoiyiri in Upper East, Piina in Upper West and Ochi-Narkwa in the Central Region. He said small ruminant farming, processing of oils, bio-diesel production, woodlot cultivation, bee-keeping, herbal medicine production; dry season vegetable farming, snail farming, cassava processing and poultry were some of the enterprises eligible to be financed with loans or grants under the Alternative Livelihood Support Scheme.

Mr Osman Yakubu, Central and Western Region Zonal Co-ordinator, CBRDP, said the project had only one year to wind-up and charged the selected communities to speed up their activities in order not to be over-taken by time.

Mrs Emily Akotia, Rural Enterprise Development Specialist, took the participants through some technical and business management skills and gave some training in group dynamic skills. The participants included agricultural officers, bank managers, engineers of the district assemblies, co-ordinators of business advisory centres (BACs), community development officers and some staff of the assemblies. 18 Feb. 08

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