Home > Uncategorized > Biofuel Cuts down over 330 trees in Yendi District

Biofuel Cuts down over 330 trees in Yendi District

Biofuel Africa cut down over 330 trees in the Yendi District of the Northern Region of Ghana as part of land preparations for the establishment of a jatropha plantation. These included 129 sheanut trees and one dawadawa tree while the rest were non-economic trees.
Over 32 percent of farmers living in the seven communities on the fringes of the jatropha plantation also lost their farms. Even though 80 percent of the farmers were re-allocated virgin lands, this was done late in the rainy season so the affected farmers could not benefit from the 2008 cropping season.
In a report on the activities of Biofuel Africa in the Yendi District since its inception in March last year, Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) said the plantation covers 460 hectares of land and is surrounded by Kpachaa, Tua, Jimle, Chegu, Kpalkore, Jaashe, and Jahinjerigu communities.
The report said even though Biofuel employed 320 people at the inception of the programme in March last year, it had laid off 240 by the end f November leaving only 116 of which 39 were women.
The report identified some of the potential side effects of the project as an increase in soil erosion during land preparation, loss of fauna and flora, fragmentation and destruction of important wildlife habitats, loss of arable and grazing land and its attendant implications for food security and livestock rearing in the area.
Other potential negative effects are the loss of important economic trees such as dawadawa and sheanut trees, medicinal plants and other products gathered from the wild. The district’s cultural resources, values and heritage might also be adversely affected.
The report also said the project poses implications for gender issues and the welfare of children, the potential spread of AIDS and may impact adversely on water sources and the hydrology of the area and lead to air pollution, as well as occupational and community health and safety hazards.
According to the report, Biofuel Africa has outlined some measures to enable it comply with Environmental Impact Assessment including the formation of Company-Community Committees (CCCs) to address community concerns and interests. The Company has also adopted water pollution prevention measures and plans to invest in rain water harvesting to increase the availability of water to communities.
Other measures include the protection of cultural resources and heritage sites, the preservation of community farmlands and support for enhanced productivity and improved land management practices to reduce soil erosion and land degradation while conserving biodiversity.
Biofuel Africa intends to promote sheanut and dawadawa tree cultivation, promote a jatropha out-grower scheme, and delineate a 500 metre buffer zone around communities. It also has plans to provide health care services and HIV prevention measures and offer employment opportunities to affected communities.
The report said so far, three communities in the district, namely, Kpachaa, Jimle and Jaache have been provided with dams but the one at Kpachaa is yet to be completed. A feeder road linking Yendi and Jaache has also been graded by Biofuel Africa.
The installation of a grinding mill by the Company near Kpachaa serves four communities in the area. Biofuel Africa also ploughed two acres of farmland for each household at Jaaache during the last cropping season. It has established a nursery for mango seedlings to help community members embark on mango plantations and caters for the salary of a voluntary teacher at the Kpachaa basic school.
The Report noted that due to the fact that Biofuel Africa has provided some of these needy communities with cherished amenities such as dams and a grinding mill, they are beginning to view the company as a sort of ‘godfather’ or a replacement of local government as far as development possibilities are concerned and cautioned that expectations should be reset.
The report recommended that the needs and livelihood assessment of affected communities should be skillfully done to avoid whipping up unrealistic expectations. There is also the need to involve an independent partner who does not directly benefit from the assistance being offered by Biofuel to the affected communities in their community development programs to avoid conflict of interests between the company and the Community Committees.

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  1. February 7, 2013 at 2:30 am

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    • February 7, 2013 at 9:41 am

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