The United States Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Robert Porter Jackson has blamed Ghana's problems on poor management of it's well endowed natural resources. Mr Jackson said, with proper management of Ghana's gold, cocoa, minerals, and other natural resources, it would have addressed major challenges facing the country.
According to Ambassador Jackson, over the last few decades, Ghana has seen formidable growth and economic development and its natural resources play a major role in the provision of schools,clinics, building materials, medicine, power to run homes.
However, Mr Jackson observed that, poor management coupled with climate change has resulted in dwindling of the country's resources. "In order to safeguard Ghana's future, we must come together to make sure these resources are preserved, sustained and ultimately sustainable," the US ambassador appealed.
The ambassador stated this when he officially launched the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), 25 million U.S. dollar five-year Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (AgNRM) project for the three regions of the north at Mole in the West Gonja District of the northern region.
The project, Mr Jackson said, is expected to end the vicious circle of poverty that has bedeviled the people of northern Ghana. The project, he explained, forms part of the U.S. President Barack Obama's "Feed The Future" initiative whose target is to reduce global hunger, improve food security, income and nutrition.
The U.S. government, he said, is working with the government of Ghana, communities and traditional leaders to better manage Ghana's natural resources. "I strongly believe that if we all work together, we can protect our environment, natural resources and the wealth they offer us all for a long time," Ambassador Jackson stressed.
Key areas of the project
Ambassador Jackson mentioned focus on women, addressing local environmental, agricultural, governance and natural resource management challenges, climate-smart agriculture and gardening as some of key areas of particular importance.
The project, Ambassador Jackson said, will also carry out activities to strengthen the Shea, moringa, tamarind and dawadawa value chains, promoting as well as helping communities form Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs), to enable them pool savings and make investments to protect natural resources.
"The project will work with communities across northern Ghana to harness their natural resources and ensure sustainable long term prosperity," Ambassador Jackson said. "I strongly believe that if we work together, we can protect Ghana's environment, natural resources, and wealth for the long term, " he added.
The project will be implemented by Winrock International, TechnoServe, Natural Conservation Research and Center for Conflict Transformation and Peace Studies.
It will driven by Community Resource Management Area(CREMA) model promoted by the Wildlife Division of the Ghana's Forestry Commission for sustainable resource management in Ghana.