Togo: How will WACA contribute to planting a billion seedlings by 2030?

Tuesday, 02 August 2022 17:57
Togo: How will WACA contribute to planting a billion seedlings by 2030?

(Togo First) - With a deforestation rate of 0.42% per annum between 1990 and 2015, Togo, under its government roadmap, plans to achieve a forest coverage of 25% by 2025. By 2030, the country wants to plant a billion trees. 

"In 2020, the government took the initiative through the government roadmap 2025, to instruct the Ministry of Environment and Forest Resources, to ensure that in 2025 this forest coverage which is 24.24% is increased to 25%," Komi Tellu, Head of Forestry Division at the Directorate of Forest Resources, told Togo First, explaining the reforestation strategy put in place by the government. "We must reforest a total of 43,000 hectares," he added.

According to the authority's estimates, 138,000 hectares of land and 21 million seeds are available this year. "For 100 million seedlings yearly, we would have to spend 40 billion CFA francs annually," he added.

WACA’s  contribution

To reach 25% of forest coverage in 2025 and one billion seedlings by 2030, an objective reiterated on June 1, the day of the tree, the country plans to finance local communities and private actors who contribute to the reforestation and establishment of forests, as indicated by the Minister of Environment, Foli-Bazi Katari.

The government also counts on several initiatives that will contribute to the achievement of this goal. This includes the West Africa Coastal Areas Program or WACA. This is a World Bank-backed regional program whose Togolese component was launched in 2018.

Though it focuses mainly on coast protection and biodiversity conservation, the WACA also has an agro-forestry component.

"We also intervene in the reconstitution of lake and river ecosystems, which explains our interventions in reforestation," said Félicien Bamoudna, monitoring and evaluation expert for the WACA project. The WACA should end in December 2023.

A million seedlings

"The objective of the WACA Project, in this sense, is to reforest 1000 hectares, for a little more than 1 million seedlings to be planted over the period, and an amount to be disbursed of about 700 million CFA francs," explained Yawo Komi, Deputy Coordinator of the project in Togo.

"We started these actions in 2020 where we reforested 177 hectares. We continued in 2021 where we reforested 179 hectares," he added. 

A “weak” contribution?

Compared to the objective of one billion trees, this contribution, the top management admitted is “very weak”. The authorities, however, attribute the poor performance to timing issues. 

"When we were setting up the WACA project, the government's ambitions were not the same as they are today, but it is still possible for us to rectify the situation", as the project has only just passed the mid-term review.

Moreover, the species planted are not only aimed at restoring ecosystems but also protecting coastal areas from erosion. This is particularly the case with the mangrove, which is the main species planted by the program, to help preserve the land against coastal erosion. For example, one goal is to limit the silting up of Lake Boko-Zowla, which is endangered by natural and anthropic pressures.

Several benificiaries

For its reforestation ambitions, the World Bank-supported program is collaborating with several beneficiary communes (Lakes 1, Vo1, Vo2, Vo 3, Vo 4 and Zio 4), which have substantial areas for agro-forestry activities. The reforestation will be carried out in the administrative reserves and on the banks of the rivers.

To date, 397 hectares have been reforested by WACA, i.e., 33% of the objective; it is also announced that 12 hectares (i.e., 67) are to be reforested between 2022 and 2023.

Ayi Renaud Dossavi

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