Wednesday, 14 December 2011

An Open Letter To The Minister For Lands And Natural Resources

Dear Honourable Minister,

Re: Utilising "Admitted Farm" Inside Atewa Range Forest Reserve for Community-based Carbon Sequestration Project

We are writing to find out whether  your ministry could recommend approval by the Forestry Service (FS) of the Forestry Commission (FC),  of a change of land use, for our "admitted farm" inside the Atewa Forest Reserve.

We are of the considered view that at a time of global climate change, owners of "admitted farms"  inside forest reserves, ought to be permitted to use their farms for community carbon sequestration projects.

That will enable the owners of those "admitted farms" to partner the local fringe  forest communities  they are members of, in community-based  carbon sequestration  projects, for their mutual benefit.

Our family acquired a total of 14sq miles of land in the Atewa Range upland evergreen rain forest, between 1921 and 1926 - on a freehold basis.

Shortly after the landholding was consolidated with the purchase of the final parcel of  additional land,  part of the area was designated a
government forest reserve.

It so happens that part of our property was included in the area designated a government reserve.

It is what is known in Forestry Service jargon as an "admitted farm." The total acreage in question amounts to 99.6 acres.

We wish  to utilise it for a community-based  carbon sequestration project - and want to find out if that will qualify  as a suitable  "admitted farm" land-use  for the climate-change era.

It will complement a conservation-through-eco-tourism project, to preserve our off-reserve upland evergreen rain forest land - now under threat from illegal gold miners  and unlawful logging.

The idea is to turn our off-reserve upland evergreen rain forest land into a community-based eco-tourism destination -  with a number of ziplines, a forest canopy walkway and eco-lodges as its centrepiece.

It is  a variant of the public private partnership (PPP) business model.

We will be  in partnership with the local community (the fringe-forest village of Akim Abuakwa Juaso) and  a number of foreign investors - amongst them Greenheart Conservation and Carbon Trading & Trust.

We have included a map of the said  "admitted farm" in question, for your perusal.

The portion inside the reserve  is  triangular-shaped, measuring 2145ft between reserve pillar number 97 and our family's pillar PET. 1., on the western side;  and 3432ft on the northern side, between forest-reserve pillars 98 and 97,  and on the south it is bordered by the Apotosu stream,  between forest-reserve pillar number 98 and our family's pillar PET.1., for a distance of 4092 ft.

We will end here - and hope that your ministry   will recommend  carbon
sequestration projects,  as suitable climate-change era "admitted farm" land-use.

More so, when  in our case it is to enable us, as well as our local and foreign partners,  to  part-fund our community-based eco-tourism project, which is unique,  because it will be in an off-reserve upland evergreen
private freehold  nature-resource reserve that is spectacularly beautiful.

Finally, we do hope we will be  allowed  to go ahead and use our "admitted farm" as a community-based carbon sequestration project - for the benefit of our family and its partners, the fringe forest villagers of Akim Abuakwa Juaso, and our foreign partners.

Yours faithfully,

Kofi Thompson.

Cc The Chief Executive,

Forestry Commission,

Accra.
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