Ivory Coast's Forestry minister, Alain-Richard Donwahi, on Tuesday, signed an agreement to this effect with the Regional Council of Cavally (west of the country).
The agreement paves the way for the allocation of 20,000 hectares of the Goin-Debe Classified Forest to farmers for the furtherance of an agro-forestry project.
Its signing relates particularly to the management of the Goin-Debe Classified Forest.
The Cavally Regional Council was represented by its president, Anne Desiree Oulotto, Minister of Sanitation and Healthiness.
Mrs. Anne Oulotto said "the area made available to you, will allow you to continue your activities, in accordance with the new forestry policy, which combines agricultural cultivation and tree growing, called agroforestry, which is an essential means of reconstituting the forest cover,” she explained to stakeholders which include customary chiefs and local authorities.
Of the 133,170 hectares of the classified forest of Goin-Debe, 20,000 hectares will be made available to farmers to enable them to continue their agricultural activities.
They will also introduce the cultivation of trees in their plots.
As part of the implementation of the convention, a technical committee was set up, made up of representatives of the Ministry of Forestry, the Cavally Regional Council, the prefectural body and local communities.
The committee is specifically responsible for defining the various activities, the methods of their implementation and ensuring the monitoring of their execution by the communities, Anne Oulotto added.
The practice of agro-forestry aims to create the conditions for an ever-prosperous agriculture, to meet the country’s needs for timber and fuel wood, and to ensure the wellbeing of neighboring populations.
The agreement follows a series of meetings between local regional authorities, led by Minister Anne-Desiree Oulotto and the Ministry of Forestry, under the leadership of Minister Alain-Richard Donwahi.
It reinforces peace found between indigenous people, indigenous and non-indigenous communities of Guiglo.
Ms. Oulotto called on the populations of the Cavally region to give priority to the nation’s interests, and to take ownership of this initiative aimed at preserving and rehabilitating the forest estate.
Serious incidents occurred between native and non-native people in the classified forest of Goin-Debe in 2018, leading the state to consider lasting solutions for peace and social cohesiveness.
In this context, the Minister of Forestry visited Guiglo in 2019 to explain the government’s new forest policy, one pillar of which is the implementation of the forest code and taking into account the interests of the people in the area.
In 2018, the government adopted the policy of preserving, rehabilitating and extending forests with the objective of restoring by 2030, 20 percent of the national forest cover.