Eco Restore Ltd. (ER) is a Ghanaian agri-business start-up aiming to restore millions of hectares of savannah parkland across West Africa by offering tree planting packages. Each tree growing package offers a diverse range of native tree seedlings with higher proportions of key species dependent on clients’ requirements and community wishes. Eco Restore also implements sustainable strategies that ensure ownership and management of established indigenous tree species in community areas, whilst incorporating ecological best practices.
Planting 6,000 indigenous trees
In March 2021, Fuji Oil Ghana (FOG) and Eco Restore decided to join forces for the first time in the form of a tree planting package, more specific the Langbinsi Gold Tree Planting Package. The goal for 2021? To grow 6,000 indigenous trees in 3 communities in the East Mamprusi Municipality of North-East Ghana. The bigger aim, however, is to scale up this program in the years to come: repetition, expansion, new communities, new regions, invite partners to join.
We’re proud to say that significant progress has been made since then: 7,478 indigenous tree seedlings were planted (5,124 were shea) and guarded by 183 tree farmers, of which 95 were women (52%). A Signs of Life Survey of all planted trees was conducted in January 2022 and showed a total of 5,932 trees alive of which 4,598 Shea and 1,334 others.
But there’s more to it than the plant survival rate. Community chiefs, elders, women groups, youth, and community members have warmly embraced the projects goals and committed their support and involvement.
Enthusiasm in local communities
The communities’ support, achieved by appropriate community entry procedures, and high level of acceptance of the project by the chiefs and elders have proven to be critical to the success of this project. The use of participatory facilitation methodology and allowing community to be at the center stage in the community risk screening exercise allowed for ownership of proposed interventions.
Even more so, the huge enthusiasm of communities proves to be a challenge for the project. Due to the small scale of this project, it has not been possible to meet demand from surrounding communities who also expressed interest to join the tree planting program. Communities and small holder farmers are increasingly interested in conserving and regenerating trees on their landscape, recognizing that protecting trees, water bodies and their landscape provide valuable benefits including firewood, wild fruits, building materials, fodder, and other useful household products. Indigenous knowledge is critical for these kinds of projects. Therefore, Fuji Oil Ghana and Eco Restore will explore ways to make more planting materials available to meet the demand of the communities.
A fruitful collaboration
The co-op between Fuji Oil Ghana and Eco Restore proved successful. “Eco Restore’s knowledge and experience with local people, fauna and flora perfectly complemented FOG’s sustainability initiatives and aim for local value creation” says Ronny Voorspools, MD of Fuji Oil Ghana. “We’re working hard to support local cooperatives and get them involved in our reforestation mission. It’s important to us to make it clear to them that we’re not just here for buying nuts (shea), but that we want to make a long-term difference in a sustainable way, across generations. The way Eco Restore is educating, motivating and gathering the local community for these reforestation initiatives, increases our impact and helps us to assure a sustainable supply chain.”
Source: Eco Restore’s Langbinsi Gold Tree Planting Package 2021 final report