As part of the efforts to help address challenges hampering the cocoa and forestry sectors in the country, Rainforest Alliance has introduced Forest Watcher Mobile App to help build climate resilience, conserve biodiversity and reduce emissions from land-use changes in the Sui River landscape.
The Forest Watcher Mobile App uses an online monitoring system and alert systems of the Global Forest Watch (GFW) to view areas of interest in the field.
Speaking at a two-day training programme at Kumasi for 16 selected cocoa farmers on how to use the GFW application, the Manager, Landscapes and Communities Rainforest Alliance, Mr. Kwadwo Nti Baniako explained that the training session for the enumerators on GFW is part of two projects being implemented by the Rainforest Alliance.
These projects are Landscape and Environmental Agility across the Nation (LEAN) project which is four-year project funded by the European Union’s flagship Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+). The initiative aims to conserve biodiversity, build climate resilience, reduce emissions from land use in Ghana and help smallholder farmers to improve their livelihoods.
Tech4Communities, a Hybrid Community-based Monitoring System (HCMS) funded by the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) through ISEAL Innovation Fund is also aims to empower the Landscape Management Board to collect and manage data for decision making.
Global Forest Watch Technology Fellow, World Resources Institute (WRI) Washington D.C and facilitator for the workshop Mrs. Abigail Frimpong explained that the training focuses on discussions on the use of Forest Watcher Mobile App including data collection, analysis, forestry laws, map-reading techniques, advocacy and partnership building techniques.
“Day two was primarily for review of the previous day’s works and practicing the use of the Mobile App in the field. Our aim is to set up a monitoring team to leverage existing initiatives, monitor and report forest infractions within the Sui River Landscape. We believe this will help provide aggregated data on causes of deforestation evidenced to the forest authorities. This is the time the government of Ghana has to invest more in forest monitoring through the use of modern-day technology which is very easy to use,” she said.
The Project Lead for the HCMS project, Mr. Alvin Adu-Asare explained that data on deforestation will be collected by the LMBs over 6 months period. “This information will be used to draft article to support advocacy strategies on deforestation within the Sui Landscape” he mentioned.
Cocoa farmer and participant at the training from the Suhenso community in the Sefwi Wiawso Landscape, Mr. Damptey Evans Yamoah expressed his gratitude to Rainforest Alliance for equipping them with knowledge on how to utilize Global Forest Watch tools to monitor their designated landscapes against deforestation and wildfires.
“Through this workshop, we have gained knowledge about the use of technology for monitoring deforestation and wildfires. We know how to monitor off-reserve forests and report forest infractions with the use of GFW tools” he added.