1. Executive Summary:
Yayra Glover Limited (YGL),Ghana’s pioneering organic cocoa producer and licensed buying company established in 2007, presents a comprehensive project proposal for the "Sitatunga Landscape and Climate Smart Rice CREMA Project." The project aims to establish a Community Resource Management Area (CREMA) in the Avu Lagoon area of the Volta Region, Ghana. By adopting the CREMA approach, the project seeks to empower local communities to actively participate in the conservation of the significant freshwater ecosystem in the Avu Lagoon while promoting sustainable land use and implementing climate-smart rice production practices. Additionally, the project will include sustainable sugarcane production and aquaculture practices to enhance environmental sustainability.
2. Background and Rationale:
The Avu Lagoon is a significant freshwater ecosystem located within the Keta Lagoon Complex Ramsar Site in the Volta Region of Ghana. Encompassing a permanently flooded 2.8 km2 freshwater lagoon, it is surrounded by largely impenetrable, permanently, or seasonally flooded habitats densely vegetated by a mix of marshy grasses and fig trees (Ficus species). At times, some areas of the lagoon are seasonally cultivated to grow sugar cane. The local inhabitants of the surrounding villages access the area by using dugouts on channels cut into the floating vegetation, enabling them to fish, farm, hunt, and collect water, wood, and weaving materials. With its unique biodiversity and ecological importance, the Avu Lagoon is the ideal site for the Sitatunga Landscape and Climate Smart Rice CREMA Project. The project aims to create a Community Resource Management Area (CREMA) in this region, empowering local communities to actively participate in the conservation of this vital ecosystem while promoting sustainable land use and climate-smart rice production practices. .
- Community-driven Conservation: Establish a CREMA in the Avu Lagoon area, giving local communities the power to manage and protect the natural resources in their designated area.
- Biodiversity Conservation: Safeguard the habitat of the endangered Sitatunga antelope and promote the conservation of other wildlife species within the CREMA.
- Climate Smart Rice Production: Introduce climate-smart rice production practices, such as Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD), to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance rice crop resilience.
- Sustainable Sugarcane Production: Implement sustainable sugarcane production practices, adhering to organic, fair trade, or Bonsucro standards, to minimise environmental impact and promote economic growth.
- Aquaculture Development: Facilitate sustainable aquaculture practices that promote the responsible use of aquatic resources, benefiting both the environment and local communities.
Partnerships and Funding:
YGL will serve as the private company partner aligned with the CREMA, supporting economic development and sustainability through environmentally responsible practices. The project will receive support from partner donor agencies, Noé and Arocha Ghana, who are dedicated to conservation and sustainable development initiatives.
YGL seeks collaboration with various stakeholders and funding partners committed to climate-smartness and biodiversity conservation, including:
a) West Africa Biodiversity and Low Emissions Development (WABiLED) - supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), promoting biodiversity conservation and low-emission development strategies in the region.
b) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) - actively involved in supporting Ghana's National Biodiversity Strategy and promoting sustainable agriculture practices.
c) United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) - engaged in climate change mitigation projects, including the UNDP Ghana Rice project in collaboration with the KLIK Foundation (Switzerland).
d) World Conservation Society (WCS) - Ghana Branch - a key partner with expertise in biodiversity conservation and sustainable land use planning.
e) KLIK Foundation (Switzerland) - an important funding partner, actively supporting climate smartness and biodiversity initiatives, as evidenced by their involvement in the UNDP Ghana Rice project.
Inspirations for this project include successful conservation initiatives such as the Ayeyarwady Sarus Crane Project in Myanmar, which demonstrated the positive impacts of community-driven conservation, and aims to showcase sustainable land use practices that benefit both wildlife and local farmers. Yayra Glover Limited (YGL) will work closely with these partners to secure the necessary funding and resources for the successful establishment and operation of the Sitatunga Landscape and Climate Smart Rice CREMA Project. The community-driven approach, guided by the CREMA framework, will empower local communities to become stewards of their natural resources and foster sustainable development in the Avu Lagoon area.