Ivory Coast To Plant A Record 50 Million Trees In A Single Day
The world’s number one cocoa producer, Ivory Coast, has announced an ambitious plan to plant 50 million trees in one day before the close of the year, Abidjan.net has reported.
It comes on the heels of its West African neighbour, Ghana, embarking on a similar campaign planting 5 million trees nationwide on 11 June 2021.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has listed Ghana and Ivory Coast among countries with the worse record of forest depletion.
Ghana’s has lost almost all its primary forest cover from 8.2 million hectares (20 million acres) in 1900 to 1.6 million hectares (about 4 million acres), the country’s Forestry Commission revealed.
Ivory Coast faces alarming deforestation with government statistics indicating that between 1990 and 2015, the country lost more than 60% of its forest cover.
And from a forest cover of 12 million hectares in 1960, the country now has only 3.4 million hectares of forests or about 11% of the national territory.
It is the alarming statistics and the dire consequences on the environment, people and the economy, particularly for future generations, that has prompted committed action by the leadership.
In May 2018, the Ivorian government adopted a new policy for the preservation, rehabilitation and expansion of forests.
Ivory Coast’s ambitious reforestation plan aims at extending its forest cover back to 20% of its territory by 2030.
“This year, we want an even more ambitious objective, which is why we have set the objective of 50 million trees to be planted in one day”, said Colonel Inza Traoré, the head of Cocoa and Forests Initiative at the Ivorian Ministry of Water and Forests.
Colonel Traoré, who was addressing the National dialogue on basic agricultural products and deforestation in Côte d’Ivoire, in Abidjan, appealed for the support of the citizenry, agricultural organisation and also the private sector to achieve the goal.
“But to achieve it, we can count on the participation and the involvement of all the social layers”, he stated, adding that “preparations have started” in earnest.
“For the implementation of this strategy which aims to rehabilitate the forests of Côte d’Ivoire, we need all the stakeholders” especially the agricultural world, because “agriculture is the main engine of deforestation in Côte d’Ivoire,” Colonel Traore said.
The exercise in Ivory Coast to plant 50 million trees this year will not be the first in recent years.
In 2019, the country planted more than 1.3 million trees in one day against a target of 1 million, and in 2020 did around 5.4 million trees a little more a target of 5 million trees.
Saball Meschi, the head of Tropical Forest Alliance and Proforest, the organisation which initiated the national dialogue, was delighted to bring together key actors from different agricultural production sectors namely rubber, oil palm, cocoa, and timber to foster a “more decisive impact”.
“The most important thing is to preserve classified forests, to reforest areas that are damaged and to increase the productivity of areas suitable for production while protecting forests,” she continued.
Ivory Coast is engaged in the Cocoa and Forests Initiative, a joint project with Ghana and private cocoa and chocolate companies to address the issue of deforestation in the cocoa supply chain.