The Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission will be putting up an organic shea nut storehouse for the people of New Gbele to promote the collection and sale of shea nuts to its partners-Savannah Fruits Company.
Executive Director of the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission, Bernard Asamoah-Boateng, has hinted that the shea nut storehouse will be financed by the Livelihood Improvement Programme under the Sustainable Land and Water Management Project (SLWMP).
Mr Asamoah-Boateng said this in a speech read on his behalf by Dr Richard Gyimah, during the Inauguration of the new Gbele community in the Sissala West District of the Upper West Region.
He noted that the women of Gbele would be allowed to gather essential non-timber forest products (NTFPs) such as the Baobab seeds, shea nuts and Dawadawa from the Reserve when these fruits were in the season even though they have moved out.
He said the success story of the resettlement programme paved the way for both the Wildlife Division and the people of Gbele together with other stakeholders to create opportunities in wildlife conservation, which came with many socio-economic benefits to all.
“There are now new opportunities for development partners, donors and private sector to invest in the Gbele Resource Reserve and new Gbele for the benefit of all including the three political districts fringing the Reserve and indeed the Upper West Region and Ghana as a whole”, Mr Samoah-Boateng said.
The Executive Director of the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission noted that the Division would like to treat the old Gbele settlement as a heritage site, calling for investment into developing the idea that could yield positive socio-economic benefits to the people of new Gbele, the Wildlife Division and the adjoining districts.
Mr Asamoah-Boateng noted that the Gbele Resource Reserve had a huge potential for eco-tourism development with products such as game viewing, bird hunting and wildlife photography, among other tourism products that could be developed.
“We call on the private sector to team up with the Wildlife Division to develop and market these products that could serve as employment avenues for the youth of new Gbele”, he said.
Dr Hafiz Bin Salih, the Upper West Regional Minister noted that agriculture was the mainstay of the people and thanked the Commission for securing 300 hectares of land from the people of Dasima Community to support the agricultural activities of new Gbele.
Kuoro Kasim Kanton IV, the Chief of Gbele, in a speech read on his behalf by Mr Luki Yussif Fuo, a member of the community, noted that they thought the idea of resettling them out of the forest was just a dream until they came to count their houses in 2007 and 2014 respectively.
He thanked the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission and the government for fulfilling their dream and appealed for the community to be enrolled unto the school feeding programme as well as the provision of two additional boreholes and a CHPS Compound to address the needs of the people.
Kuoro Kanton also appealed to the Assembly and for that matter government to extend electricity to the community to enhance security at night while also promoting local socio-economic activities and entertainment.