Environmental and Galamsey sites restoration Non Governmental Organization (NGO), Partners Of Nature Africa (PONA) has introduced high and fast-yielding Sri Lankan dwarf coconut trees on some reclaimed Galamsey sites at Minti in the Ashanti region.
The switch to coconut from the forest tree species which has so far characterized the reclamation exercise, is to offer alternative income sources to residents, especially those formerly involved in small and illegal mining activities.
Forster Amofah, Operations Director of Partners of Nature Africa, explained that, the fast and high- yielding coconut would perpetually rake in income for the residents and also open avenues for other economic activities.
“Besides selling the fresh coconuts, the residents can also process the copra into coconut oil to earn some extra income,” Mr. Amofah assured.
He disclosed that, the choice of the coconut seedlings from Sri Lanka was based on its gestation period of two and a half years and its phenomenal fruitfulness, adding that, “the sweet taste would make it the preferred fruit on the market, thus giving it advantage in sales”.
He called for government support to extend the coconut project to other parts of the country, especially in Galamsey-affected communities, in view of its benefits over other species, maintaining that, the Organization would still continue with forest species as an integral part of its environmental projects.
For his part, the Paramount Chief of Dadease Traditional Nana Barima Appau Twum II, indicated that his aim is to plant at least ten thousand coconut seedlings in the area, to serve as a means of employment for the youth of the area.
“Our traditional area has worked in partnership with Partners of Nature Africa for some time now and this time around, we are embarking on another initiative in this partnership that would open avenues for the youth,” Nana Appau Twum II stated.
He also appealed to government, corporate bodies and individuals to support the initiative to restore the environment, create employment for the youth and make the area more economically-viable.
Partners of Nature Africa, an NGO in the restoration of the environment and abandoned Galamsey sites, has been assisting the Dadease Traditional area and many other communities in the country to restore degraded Galamsey sites.
The organization has been operating in Ashanti, Eastern, Western, Central, Brong Ahafo and Northern regions of Ghana.