September 8, 2020
Coronavirus: Rainforest Alliance offers relief to 2,000 smallholder farmers
The Rainforest Alliance has supported the Landscape Management Board (LMB) in the Juaboso-Bia in the Western Region with an amount of US$18,000.
The grant will support 2000 smallholder families of the Climate Cocoa Cooperative Union affected by COVID-19 and relief for 200 vulnerable members who were directly affected by a rainstorm disaster in April 2020.
The Leadership of the LMB, together with community members, traditional leaders and other stakeholders, organised a durbar to publicly appreciate the partnership with Rainforest Alliance and transparently distribute the relief items to the beneficiaries and install the Community COVID-19 items.
Addressing the LMB and stakeholders at the durbar, Mr. Kwame Osei, Rainforest Alliance Country Director, Ghana, expressed his confidence in the LMB and their progress over the span of their existence.
“We hope that the grants would motivate and resource them to continue the good work of ensuring sustainability in the landscape”, he said.
The Landscape Management Board (LMB), a Forest and Landscape governance structure, constituted by the Rainforest Alliance through their Conservation Project, in the Juaboso-Bia Landscape, has built the capacity of selected individuals from each community to act as lead farmers that train group members and other farmers in their respective communities.
This Management Board oversees the implementation of Sustainable Forest Management, Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) practices, Cocoa Certification, and livelihood programs in the landscape.
The farmers under the Cocoa Certification Program have registered as a cooperative under the laws of the Department of Cooperatives-Ghana as a legal entity known as Climate Cocoa Cooperative Union – Juaboso-Bia.
At the beginning of the 2020 major season, the leadership and Group Administrator of the Cocoa Certification program had to halt their preparations towards the audit of their cooperative as it, unfortunately, coincided with restrictions on movement and other protocols that became necessary due to the global pandemic of COVID-19, thereby impacting the conduct of meetings, normal training and farm activities that were scheduled according to the cooperative’s working plan.
In spite of the restrictions which included a lockdown at some point, the leadership and the lead farmers reached out to Rainforest Alliance Staff for information that could help develop other means to reach member farmers for their training to ensure their continuity compliance to the certification standard, protocols, and preparation towards audit periods.
Amidst all these adjustments communities in the landscape had to make, they were hit by a heavy rainstorm on April 5, 2020, which destroyed buildings and properties in some communities and the loss of life of one farmer.
The disaster coupled with its issues made it unfavorable for farmers to undertake their usual farming activities than to talk of getting foodstuff for their households and the market. This puts the security of livelihood in the landscape at risk, thus the need to seek support.
The leadership of the LMB then appealed to the Rainforest Alliance through RA’s representatives in the landscape for assistance to the affected members by the rainstorm as well as support to smallholder farmers affected by COVID-19 in the various communities.
Upon the request, the Rainforest Alliance granted LMB Eighteen thousand US Dollars (US$18,000) as household support for smallholder families affected by COVID-19 and the rainstorm disaster (which includes roofing sheets and food packages).
This grant also allowed the Landscape Management Board to also provide support to the various communities to follow the COVID-19 protocols and also carry out adapted training programs.