By Emmanuel Mensah-Abludo
A Protected Area Management Advisory Unit (PAMAU) for the Gbele Resource Reserve has been inaugurated at Tumu in the Sissala East Municipality of the Upper West Region.
The 13-member advisory unit simply known as PAMAU was sworn-in by the Magistrate of the Tumu District Court, Ernest Yao Agbenya.
The advisory unit which is the first of its kind in Upper West will among others, assist the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission to implement the Protected Area Management Plan through the mobilization of local support.
Correspondent Emmanuel Mensah-Abludo reports that members of PAMAU as part of their mandate will help the Wildlife Division in the development and protection of sacred groves and other sites that are valued by the people.
The Chairman of the Sissala East PAMAU, Kuoro Mahamadu Zakaria Savei indicated that he and his team will engage the fringe communities as their immediate task to help address the challenge of encroachment on lands in the Gbele Reserve and pledged the readiness of the team to serve.
“We shall place our individual expertise at your disposal unrestricted and we are ready to help at all times,”Kuoro Savei emphasized.
The Park Manager of the Gbele Resource Reserve, Dr Polycarp Maabier who is also a member of PAMAU announced that the Reserve is benefiting from the Ghana Landscape Restoration and Small-Scale Mining Project (GLRSSMP) supports the implementation of collaborative resource management for fringe communities.
He continued that under the project, Sissala West and Daffiama-Bussie-Issa (DBI) Districts as well as Sissala East Municipality which are the three political administrative enclaves hosting the Gbele Resource will be supported to conserve a total land size of 244,813.55 hectares the Community Resource Management Area (CREMA) approach.
Dr Maabier talked about “dawadawa” value chain as one of the benefits the communities will derive from the project. “When you take our Park for instance, the Gbele Resource Reserve, we are bringing on board dawadawa processing, they want to enhance the dawadawa value chain.
We have already worked on the organic shea value chain and the communities, the PAMAUs will be able to advice the Park that look, if we set up such an industry here, it will benefit a larger community,” he noted.
The MCE for Sissala East, Fuseini Yakubu Batong underscored the need for the tourism potentials of the area to be trumpeted to enable the needed revenue to be generated from the Gbele Resource Reserve and asked for the roads in his Municipality to be ungraded.
Mr Batong said: “I will like to use this opportunity to appeal to the road minister to come to the aid of the Sissala people.”
The Chief of Duang and Chairman of DBI PAMAU, Kuoro Sumaila Tambogikuon reiterated the necessity for all relevant stakeholders within the political class to treat the road issue as an urgent and critical need for development.
A former District Secretary and retired educationist, Daniel Yoho who chaired the function emphasized the necessity for the members of PAMAU and the staff of the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission to be protected to deliver in their line of duty.