AfDB and UN Environment launch the ‘Atlas of Africa Energy Resources‘at the World Economic Forum for Africa in Durban, South Africa


On 4 May 2017, at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Durban South Africa, the African Development Bank’s Vice-President Power for Energy, Climate and Green Growth, Amadou Hott and the UN Environment Regional Director, Juliette Biao Koudenoukpo, launched one the most important publications in the energy sector, the ‘Atlas of Africa Energy Resources.’ In the presence of representatives of the private sector, key African institutions and Civil Society organizations, Hott highlighted the importance and benefits the publication of the Atlas represent. “We have no doubt that this Atlas will be instrumental in facilitating ease of access to information and data in the energy sector for all stakeholders, including the donor community, African Governments and the private sector,” he said.

He added that development institutions will benefit from the Atlas. “At the African Development Bank, we are convinced that this Atlas will assist us in implementing our ambitious programme under the New Deal on Energy for Africa, whose main objective is to achieve universal energy access in Africa by 2025, Hott said, adding that this would entail providing electricity access to over 200 million households and clean cooking access to around 150 million households.

The Atlas of Africa Energy Resources was produced by the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA) in partnership with the UN Environment and the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA). The ICA and SEFA are both hosted by the African Development Bank. A G8 initiative, the main objective of the ICA is to increase investments for infrastructure development in Africa, from both public and private sources. SEFA provides resources for renewable energy project preparation and equity investments, as well as technical assistance to African institutions in improving the enabling environment for private investments.

The Atlas of Africa Energy Resources features over 64 maps and 73 satellite images as well as some 50 graphics and hundreds of compelling photos. The Atlas makes a major contribution to knowledge on Africa’s energy sector by highlighting the opportunities and challenges for sustainable development of the energy resources on the continent.

The Atlas, including individual satellite images and other graphics can be downloaded from the website of the ICA and from UN Environment.


Source: The African Development Bank Group


We need more support to fight climate change – Scientists

By: Joseph Opoku Gakpo,

Scientists are calling for more support from government to help deal with the problem of climate change and destruction being caused to the environment.

They warn life on Planet Earth will be unsustainable unless government and other stakeholders step up efforts at preserving the environment.

“All of us should be mindful of how we deal with the environment. We have to stop cutting trees and limit using our forests so there is less of deforestation.

We need to properly dispose of our garbage so that our water bodies are not filled with filth,” retired Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) scientist Dr. Margaret Atikpo told Joy news at an event in Accra to mark Earth Day and to ‘March for Science’ on Saturday.

The day is set aside to educate the public about the need to preserve the environment. “Government would have to spearhead these activities and support with the necessary funds,” she added.

More than a hundred people gathered on Saturday at the Afia Village in Accra to celebrate Earth Day and join in a global March for Science campaign that unfolded across more than 500 cities all over the world with the main event in Washington DC – USA.

The march is being organised by scientists skeptical about the agenda of US President Donald Trump who has repeatedly described climate change as a hoax and is planning to push through policies that scientists fear could reverse the gains made in saving the planet from peril.

In an exciting atmosphere, there were teachings focusing on what can be done to preserve the environment. There were also teachings on the need for science to be at the forefront of national development, and what can be done to encourage more women to venture into science and technology.

Outdoor activities included hands on teachings about recycling and video shows on climate change and science.

According to organisers of the Accra March for Science, “we (in Ghana) march for science because the action of one country affects all of us…sitting on the edge of the ocean, we are concerned about climate change and ocean pollution and their effects on agriculture in Ghana.”

“It’s our turn to lead. So our world leaders can follow by example,” the Accra March for Science team added.

Managing Director of Ghana’s largest circulating newspaper, Daily Graphic, Kenneth Ashigbey who spoke at the event called for an immediate end to illegal mining to preserve the environment.

2015 UNICEF Reach for Change Award Winner Cordie Aziz also advocated recycling of refuse as a way to preserve the environment.




Care Ghana launches PROSPER project to support farming communities

CARE International in Ghana launched the PROSPER Project in Bibiani-Anhwiaso Bekwai District and Sefwi-Wiawso Municipal Assembly respectively.

PROSPER, is a community-based intervention targeted at enhancing access to education with the provision of school infrastructure, improving nutrition behavior, strengthening women’s empowerment and building the capacity of people living in cocoa farming communities for sustainable development.

The Project was launched in a sequel at Bibiani and Sefwi-Wiawso and was well attended by stakeholders from the respective districts where the PROSPER intervention will be operational.

Addressing participants, the District Coordinating Director for Bibiani-Anhwiaso Bekwai, John Nana Owu, expressed his appreciation for the honour done the district to host such a laudable initiative and promised to work together with all key agencies within the district to support the successful implementation of the PROSPER Project.

Harnessing on CARE’s achievements over the past 23 years, the PROPSER Project Manager, Dr. Theophilus Nkansah urged all key district stakeholders present to familiarize themselves with the core objectives of the PROSPER intervention and support in areas that aligns with their institutional mandate to make the project a success.

According to the Deputy Sustainability Country Lead for Cargill, Samuel Apana, the PROSPER project is a component of Cargill’s global Cocoa Promise, a corporate social responsibility initiative aimed at sourcing cocoa sustainably by improving the livelihoods of individuals living in cocoa growing communities and supporting community development.

The components of the cocoa promise include; farmer education, community development, farm development and farmer cooperative formation.

He also emphasized that due to CARE’s achievements and the success of previous partnerships, Cargill for the third-time running was excited to partner CARE again for the implementation of the community development pillar.

With the support of some selected lead farmers from the Project’s partner communities, representatives from the district and Cargill deputy country sustainability lead, the PROSPER project was declared duly launched.

The PROSPER project is operational in four cocoa districts – Sefwi-Wiawso, Asawinso, Anhwiaso and Awaso- in the Western Region of Ghana, within the following political districts: Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai District, Sefwi- Wiawso Municipality, Akontombra District, and Juaboso District. Ultimately, PROSPER aims to promote a sustainable and food secure world.

The PROSPER project which delivers the community development component of the Cargill Cocoa Promise is a three-year intervention supported by Cargill and implemented by CARE, an international NGO with expertise in community development. Overall, the project will be rolled out in about 200 communities over the 3-year



UN Statistical Commission encourages Statistical Framework for Measuring Sustainable Tourism

The 48th Session of United Nations Statistical Commission has supported the UNWTO-led initiative of developing an international framework for Measuring Sustainable Tourism (MST). The initiative, being implemented in cooperation with the United Nations Statistics Division, aims to develop a new statistical framework for tourism — one that integrates the various dimensions of sustainable tourism (economic, environmental and social) and across relevant levels (global, national and subnational).

Overwhelming appreciation was expressed to the work of the UNWTO Committee on Statistics and TSA and the Working Group of Experts on Measuring Sustainable Tourism, which is leading the development of the new framework. The Commission encouraged the development of a Statistical Framework for Measuring Sustainable Tourism as a priority to support more integrated policy in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in response to requests from Member States and various stakeholders.

It also highlighted the importance of linking the TSA to the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA), the elaboration of a TSA Compilation Guide, and the need to enhance capacity building for measuring sustainable tourism, notably in compiling TSA.

Established in 1947, the Commission gathers Chief Statisticians from Member States and is the highest decision making body for international statistical activities. The last time that the Statistical Commission discussed a UNWTO report was in 2008, when the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) framework was approved.

Measuring Sustainable Tourism (MST) will be the central focus of the 6th International Conference on Tourism Statistics: Measuring Sustainable Tourism, to be held in Manila, the Philippines, 21-24 June 2017.

The Manila Conference is an Official Event of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, 2017 and will be a landmark opportunity to discuss methodological advances, explore emerging issues and learn from pioneering country experiences. A Ministerial Roundtable will kick-start the Conference to underline the importance of measurement in better understanding the role that sustainable tourism plays in fostering economic growth, social inclusiveness, and the protection of cultural and natural assets.



Fifth of world’s food lost to over-eating and waste, study finds

Encouraging people to eat fewer animal products, reduce waste and not exceed their nutritional needs could help to reverse troubling global trends, researchers say.
Credit: © / Fotolia

Almost 20 per cent of the food made available to consumers is lost through over-eating or waste, a study suggests.

The world population consumes around 10 per cent more food than it needs, while almost nine per cent is thrown away or left to spoil, researchers say.

Efforts to reduce the billions of tonnes lost could improve global food security — ensuring everyone has access to a safe, affordable, nutritious diet — and help prevent damage to the environment, the team says.

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh examined ten key stages in the global food system — including food consumption and the growing and harvesting of crops — to quantify the extent of losses.

Using data collected primarily by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, the team found that more food is lost from the system than was previously thought.

Almost half of harvested crops — or 2.1 billion tonnes — are lost through over-consumption, consumer waste and inefficiencies in production processes, researchers say.

Livestock production is the least efficient process, with losses of 78 per cent or 840 million tonnes, the team found. Some 1.08 billion tonnes of harvested crops are used to produce 240 million tonnes of edible animal products including meat, milk and eggs.

This stage alone accounts for 40 per cent of all losses of harvested crops, researchers say.

Increased demand for some foods, particularly meat and dairy products, would decrease the efficiency of the food system and could make it difficult to feed the world’s expanding population in sustainable ways, researchers say.

Meeting this demand could cause environmental harm by increasing greenhouse gas emissions, depleting water supplies and causing loss of biodiversity.

Encouraging people to eat fewer animal products, reduce waste and not exceed their nutritional needs could help to reverse these trends, the team says.

The study is published in the journal Agricultural Systems. It was carried out in collaboration with Scotland’s Rural College, University of York, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research.

The research was funded through a Global Food Security Programme supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council, Natural Environment Research Council and the Scottish Government.

Dr. Peter Alexander, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences and Scotland’s Rural College, who led the study, said: “Reducing losses from the global food system would improve food security and help prevent environmental harm. Until now, it was not known how over-eating impacts on the system. Not only is it harmful to health, we found that over-eating is bad for the environment and impairs food security.”

Professor Dominic Moran, of the University of York, who was involved in the study, said: “This study highlights that food security has production and consumption dimensions that need to be considered when designing sustainable food systems. It also highlights that the definition of waste can mean different things to different people.”




UK Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson Commends Ghanaian Bamboo Bike Maker


On his recent visit to Ghana to deepen bilateral relations between Ghana and the United Kingdom, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson took a ride on one of the bamboo bikes produced by the internationally recognized Ghanaian manufacturing company Booomers International Ltd. This happened during an interaction section with a few small and medium enterprises in Ghana supported by the UKAID. As a great biker himself, he became fascinated with the make and the design of the bikes and decided to take a ride on the bike which he later described as very light and comfortable.

Mr. Boris Johnson was very optimistic a product like that of Booomers will do very well on the UK market and therefore encouraged the Chief Executive Officer of Boomers International, Mr. Kwabena Danso to tap into the opportunities that exist in the UK to expand the company’s market base. Among the dignitaries who were with Mr. Boris included the UK Trade Envoy to Africa, Mr. Adam Afiriyie and the British High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr. Jon Benjamin who is has been a great admirer and supporter of the company. The Ghanaian Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr. Alan Kyerematen was very enthused about the bikes and the fact that they were made from Bamboo in Ghana.

On his part, the CEO of Booomers International mentioned that the UK market is the company’s prime focus this year and that they are seeking to build partnership with potential distributors across the UK. “We are very passionate about using whatever opportunities are available in solving problems in rural Ghana since that is the genesis of a lot of the country’s problems. Due to lack of economic opportunities, a huge number of the young people in rural communities migrate to the urban areas in search of livelihood and it is against this background that the company is using the opportunity to train and employ youth in rural areas. We are looking at creating the Bamboo village which will become a catalyst for job creation and also create the value chain for bamboo just as China has done”,he said.

Booomers International is introducing three new products in addition to their current bike frames. These are the tricycle and balance bikes for children and the bamboo speakers. These products will be on the market at the beginning of March, 2017.

Booomers International is a social enterprise which was established in 2014 as the commercial arm of the Yonso Project to undertake the commercial production of bamboo bicycles and accessories. Currently, the company has gone beyond just bikes and is developing new products from bamboo. The company’s products are in high demand in Germany, Netherlands, Australia, Canada, USA and will this year go into the UK market. The story of Booomers is one unique story that shows how determination and discipline make a local company become a force to reckon with on the international market.



Forestry advocacy group charges Lands minister to sanitise forest sector


Civil society organisations, working in the forest sector have charged the new Minister for Lands and Natural Resources for to go beyond issuing a directive to restore sanity in the forestry sub-sector.

The directive they say calls for an action plan to deal with illegal logging, illegal mining and illegal encroachment in forest reserves.

They say it further halts all special permits issued after December 10, 2016, all operations of loggers with expired permits including logging of rosewood and finally bans all rosewood exports.

According to them, it is a good approach to sanitizing a sector which is bedevilled with immense challenges, including endemic corruption, breakdown in professionalism and overbearing negative influence of politicians.

In a press conference Wednesday, they said the rosewood situation can best be described as “complete insanity.”

Ghana illegally exported rosewood amounting to 10 percent of the global trade in 2016 and the problem keeps escalating as exports in the banned wood continue in flagrant defiance of the previous directives banning rosewood exports.

“Exports for June 2016 were 467 percent higher than that of the corresponding period in 2015. A total of more than 9,000 40ft containers bearing 292,000 m3 of rosewood were exported from Ghana to China between January 2014 and June 2016,” it said.

“What is appalling about this development is that majority of rosewood timber harvested in Ghana originates from the highly sensitive savannah ecosystem, which is prone to desertification,” they quizzed.

According to them, while Ghana has been making noticeable progress in efforts to reduce illegal logging with the implementation of the FLEGT-VPA and the contribution of many NGOs, the abuse of political power has caused an upsurge in the illegal practice in some parts of Ghana; some forest encroachments have been masterminded by politicians, particularly in parts of the Western Region.

They said “galamsey activities also continue to threaten the integrity of our forest and land resources everywhere and sadly, it seems resource managers have accepted it.

“We have looked on with concern the wanton disregard for the forestry laws of Ghana and the ineptitude of the Forestry Commission and law enforcement agencies to bring these illegal activities to a halt.”

They noted that the situation portrays negligence and a lack of commitment to the Service Charter of the Forestry Commission, as well as its own Vision and Mission.

“We strongly believe that the abuse of permit allocation in the sector did not begin from December 2016 and therefore if you really want to sanitize the sub-sector you would need to dig deeper into logging and mining contracts which date some years back,” they emphasised.

These are some issues which we wish to bring to your attention:

1. We have reason to believe some Timber Utilization Contracts (TUC) and Special Permits issued between 2014 and now (2017) were questionably awarded. We have heard that about 15 new TUCs have been issued since 2014. There is, however, very little information available to allow civil society to effectively play its watchdog role of interrogating and investigating the contract awarding process.

2. Some companies have also been granted questionable mining permits to destroy Globally Significant Biodiversity Areas including Tano Offin, Subri, Upper Wassa, and Fure River forest reserves. In the last two forest reserves, we have observed that these operators have hired muscle-bound armed men to protect their operations. Local communities like Juabo, Sraha in the Upper Denkyria West continue to protest against this. These operations need to be shut down immediately.

3. Again we are aware of the high illegal timber racketeering in Goaso Forest District in the Brong Ahafo Region. The scale of this illegal logging is huge. The illegal loggers operate in broad-day light and with total impunity. Forest managers and their military task forces have been incapacitated as some politicians give backing to this illegal logging. We believe this is one of the biggest illegal logging syndicates in Ghana currently, which must be stopped.

4. We also know that presently, about 30-50 40ft containers of rosewood and other species are harvested from the savannah regions each week. Honorable Minister, this is not an area to encourage logging of any species because it is prone to desertification. We need a directive barring logging and trade of all forms of timber species including rosewood, ebony, and papao.

As activists in the sector, we believe that to truly sanitize the sub-sector it requires a few more steps to be a game-changer. We, therefore, recommend the following:

a. That you request the Inspector General of Police to investigate the sub-sector.

Alternatively, you may set-up a multi-stakeholder investigation panel, including members of Civil Society. The task would be to investigate the procedure and award of all logging and mining contracts in Ghana since 2013, as well as the rosewood mess; to identify illegalities and accomplices; and recommend actions against such individuals and companies.

b. That the findings of the Committee should be implemented without prejudice.

We would like to congratulate you on your appointment as Minster for Lands and Natural Resources and once again laud you for your bold directive. You will find in us, (the NGOs listed below), your strongest ally in working to ensure sustainable use and preservation of our resources for development.



The Environmental Consequences Of A Wall On The U.S.-Mexico Border

A visitor stands next to the U.S.-Mexico border fence at Friends of Friendship Park on Feb. 4 in San Ysidro, Calif.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images



On Jan. 25, President Trump signed an executive order instructing construction to begin on a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Environmentalists and civil rights activists say the proposed wall on the southern border with Mexico is a threat to the environmental rights of the people who live on both sides of the border.

“When you have such beautiful wilderness areas as we have here in Arizona, the idea of putting this large wall that prevents the migration of animals, that scars the earth itself, and especially knowing how ineffectual it is, is something that is just sad,” said Juanita Molina, the executive director of Border Action Network, an organization that advocates for the health and wellness of people who live along the border. “The reality is that border communities are porous by nature.”

Molina, who lives in Benson, Ariz., said the wall could cause flooding and debris build-up on both sides of the border. (Chris Clarke of KCET has reported that a concrete wall “would cause catastrophic flooding in the desert.”) Molina also said there could be legal and ethical consequences if people try to build on the land of the Tohono O’odham Nation, whose reservation straddles the border, and whose leaders have spoken out for years against a border wall. But even if no part of the wall materializes, she said, the rhetoric around it has already caused rifts in her community.

“I think that there’s a polarization that’s happening in our communities now that hasn’t happened in many years,” Molina said. “The mistrust and the racial divides are very present…This isn’t the first time that the establishment hasn’t supported our views as a community or supported our views as people of color…Our laws, our freedoms, our cultural evolution is something that is part of our everyday lives and struggle.”

As of 2010, there were about 15 million people living in border counties on both sides of the Mexico-U.S. border, according to the Wilson Center’s State of the Border Report. If growth rates stay the same, the report says, that number is likely to reach 29 million in 30 years.

In the four border states on the U.S. side, Texas, California, New Mexico and Arizona, people of Mexican origin make up at least a quarter of the total population, with higher concentrations in counties within 100 kilometers of the divide. In El Paso, Texas, for example, Latinos, primarily of Mexican descent, make up more than 80 percent of the population.

According to Raul Garcia, who works at the environmental justice law firm Earthjustice, it’s no accident that the border wall would primarily affect people of color. “With Trump’s militarization of the border, he’s specifically targeting immigrants and Latinos trying to make a life for themselves and their families,” Garcia said. He said that communities of color all over the U.S. face similar challenges.

Garcia pointed to issues like the water crisis in Flint, Mich., and construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in South Dakota, where other communities of color have been singularly affected by environmental issues. “We also see it throughout our country when highways are built and minority communities, like Latinos and blacks, are divided and displaced to make way for the privileged upper class folks on the other side of the city,” he said.

Ira Mehlman, of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, supports the construction of the wall and said that it is an important tool for impeding illegal immigration. He said that FAIR supported the Secure Fence Act in 2006, which authorized construction of a border barrier — legislation, he pointed out, that had support from people like Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer and Barack Obama.

In terms of environmental risks, Mehlman said that while a wall could have some environmental impact, “so [do] tens, hundreds of thousands trampling across the flora, leaving tons of garbage and debris along the way. So having that traffic is also damaging to the local ecology.”

But scientists and environmentalists have been warning about the potential negative environmental effects, like restricted animal movement and plant pollination, of a border wall for over a decade, since President George W. Bush signed the Secure Fence Act of 2006. When Donald Trump started discussing the construction of a full-scale border wall during his presidential campaign, those concerns resurfaced.

In September 2016, Sergio Avila-Villegas, a conservation scientist at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, told BBC’s Science in Action team that “Border infrastructure not only blocks the movement of wildlife, but… destroys the habitats, fragments the habitats and the connectivity that these animals use to move from one place to another.”

George Frisvold, a professor at the University of Arizona who specializes in environmental policy, said that politically speaking, a border wall “gives this false impression that you’re actually doing something, but it has this political attraction because it’s completely ineffective” in preventing problems associated with immigration. Environmentally, he said, “Any time you’re going to put big structures along the border, and usually it isn’t just the structure out there by itself — you have to have some sort of access road for people to go get to it, so you’re going to be tearing up natural habitat with structures and roads, and that’s going to be disruptive.”

Mark Magana, the president of GreenLatinos, said he sees Latinos, especially millennials, becoming more involved in the environmental rights movement. He said many Latinos were raised to be cultural conservationists. “[We] grew up respecting, conserving, reusing, re-purposing, being very respectful for what we have,” he said. “And that is not because I read about it or…I claim to be an environmentalist. It’s because that’s what our grandmother taught us…You know, ‘Don’t turn on the air conditioning. Reuse that piece of aluminum foil…Eat every part of the animal…Find a way to fix that.’

“And we have, whether it’s because of an agrarian ancestry or because of poverty, many cultures like Latinos have developed this natural culture of conservation. And it’s just a respect we have for the little that we have.”

Earlier this month, Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham introduced the “Build Bridges Not Walls Act,” which would prohibit Trump’s executive order. So far, it’s been endorsed by 59 members of Congress and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.



Tomra introduces smart reverse vending machines


Tomra, a global provider of reverse vending machines (RVMs) and sensor-based sorting equipment with U.S. headquarters in Shelton, Connecticut, has introduced smart RVMs through its Tomra Connect digital product platform.

The Tomra Connect RVMs offer customer rewards, community involvement and analytics that previously were not available to users.

The company says the portfolio of digital products by Tomra Collection Solutions Digital brings new insights and engagement opportunities, both for the locations providing the RVMs and for the people who recycle with them. Tomra Collection Solutions Digital, which began as an intrapreneurship project in 2014 and is a part of Tomra, develops, innovates and monetizes digital products and solutions to complement and extend the value of RVM usage and ownership, the company says on its website.

Tomra says its approach also is personalizing the recycling experience for millions of people around the world, in turn increasing recycling involvement, ramping up profits for stores and helping the environment.

“Tomra Connect opens up new possibilities for extending the recycling experience and getting to know recyclers,” says Aleksander Mortensen, head of Tomra Collection Solutions Digital. “It’s not just cars and fitness devices connecting to the Internet of Things. Just as smartphones made us expect more from our handsets than simply making calls, with smart reverse vending you get much more from the recycling experience.”

Tomra has more than 75,000 installations in more than 40 markets, often where a deposit is refunded when consumers return their used beverage containers (UBCs). The RVMs identify the can or bottle, give the appropriate refund and can compact the containers for easier transportation.

RVMs with Tomra Connect offer:

  • Points programs: With engagement program Tomra Makes Change, also known as ReAct, consumers can earn points and redeem them for rewards or charitable donations, and share their recycling activity to social media. ReAct has tens of thousands of users in the U.S., who have earned millions of points. This engagement program can complement deposit refunds or act as an incentive in markets without deposit legislation.
    Marketing and donation: The machine’s touch screen turns the system into a marketing touchpoint. Consumers can donate their deposit refund to a local charity, and retailers can promote daily specials or show seasonal campaigns – all administered remotely. Retailers also can print coupons on refund receipts.
    Notifications: Smartphone app Notify + Assist pushes real-time notifications to personnel when machines require attention (such as for full bins, stops or low printer paper) and gives step-by-step guidance on how to remedy the issue.
    Insights: Analytics pulls business intelligence from big data. It shows queueing time, how well the machine was cleaned, recycling volumes for different times of day (for the purpose of helping sites providing the machines, typically retailers, to plan ahead for busy periods) and other data.
    Anti-fraud: Tomra Connect combats fraud attempts (like someone trying to redeem the same deposit amount twice) through real-time validation and devaluation of refund receipts.

Tomra Connect is not Tomra’s first foray into remote communication for its recycling returns machines. In the 1980s, Tomra used dial-up connectivity to transmit software and databases, as well as download log files and statistics. The 1990s saw the implementation of networking and IP. Tomra Connect represents third-generation connectivity, which moves that infrastructure to the cloud and unites previous local offerings under one umbrella.

Consumers deliver 35 billion UBCs every year to Tomra machines. The company says this reduces reliance on raw materials to produce new containers and ensures that fewer end up in landfills, oceans and streets. All containers redeemed through Tomra RVMs are recycled.

Visit for more information.

Tomra is part of the Tomra Group, Tomra Systems ASA, which is based in Norway. Founded in 1972, the company designs, manufactures and sells RVMs for automated collection of UBCs. Tomra has two main business areas: Collection Solutions (reverse vending, material recovery and compaction) and Sorting Solutions (recycling, mining and food sorting).

Women Oyster Harvesters Ready For Community Co-mamgement Plan

Women demonstrate harvesting oysters during the PRA.  Normally they would have individual basins. Brush parks (ed Acadjas in Ga or Atidza in Ewe)

Women demonstrate harvesting oysters during the PRA. Normally they would have individual basins. Brush parks (ed Acadjas in Ga or Atidza in Ewe)

By Samuel Hinneh

More than 100 fisher folks, mostly women and traditional leaders from Tsokomey, Bortianor, Oshie, Faana, Kobrobite communities in the Ga South Municipal Assembly in the Greater Accra Region have expressed the readiness to adopt community co-management plan to boost oyster harvesting to alleviate poverty.

They participated in a two-day Oyster Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) from January 30th to 31st, 2017 to institute a community co-management plan for the harvesting of oyster resources in the Densu Estuary. The appraisal assessed the ecological and socioeconomic status and prospects for development of a community based management plan for oyster harvesting as a sustainable livelihood and food security venture in the Densu River estuary. The Densu Delta was designated as a Ramsar site in 1992, recognizing it as a protected wetland of international importance under the International Convention on Wetlands.

They shared local knowledge of the history of oyster fishery in the Densu Estuary, identified significant harvesting sites, shared their experiences with using the river resources, and identified the opportunities and challenges in sustainable oyster harvesting and conservation management.

The PRA was facilitated by Development Action Association (DAA), Hen Mpoano, and the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Science of University of Cape Coast (UCC), all implementing partners of USAID Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP) and Consultants from Try Oyster Women from the Gambia.

USAID Sustainable Fisheries Management Project is 5-years food security program which aims at rebuilding targeted marine fish stock in Ghana.

The Try Oyster Women’s Association in The Gambia brings together over 500 female oyster harvesters with primary aim to raise the standard of living and improve livelihood opportunities for women.

Harvested fresh oysters from the Densu estuary

Oysters have very high essential vitamins and minerals such as protein, iron, omega three fatty acids, calcium, zinc, and vitamins C. Another important benefit in eating oysters is, it poses no danger to the cholesterol levels in the human body. A research done by University of Washington shows, oysters raise good cholesterol levels and lowers bad cholesterol levels. Madam Fatou Janha Mboob, TRY Oyster Women’s Association Coordinator, reiterated their support for the management plan. “If we are doing it accordingly, we can process it and export some to upgrade income. Comparing the oyster sizes in The Gambia and Ghana the sizes in Ghana are bigger than The Gambia and lots of profits can be made if done properly to increase earnings. The hardship in the communities is too much, we will help to address economic hardships,” she stated.

The women who represent the target group for the DAA/SFMP sustainable livelihoods initiative mostly engage in low value-added activities such as fish cleaning and carrying loads of fish on their heads from the landing site (fish porter). These women mostly young women in their 20s and 30s are at times the poorest in the community. Although oyster harvesting is common among this group, it is not considered a significant source of income. One of the participants summed it up this way “I came to Tsokomey from Volta region specially to carry fish load because I heard that it is a lucrative activity. Here in our community, oyster harvesting is not seen as an occupation.”

Peter Oblitey Amui, secretary to the Sukumortsoshishi family in charge of the River says he was happy of the proposed co-management plan and will solicit support from the traditional heads to ensure that the programme is a success. “Though I had heard many misconceptions about the whole programme, what I have seen clearly shows greater commitment from the women oyster harvesters and we as traditional authority in this area and in charge of the river will give them our full support.”

Women Oyster harvesters face many challenges, among them are: inadequate protective working gear, lack of personal boat for harvesting (this mostly applies to women oyster pickers), inadequate diving skills, inadequate sustainable fire wood for broiling oysters, extended shucking time (scooping of oyster “meat” from shells can be time consuming for a large volume of oysters), low price of fresh oyster “meat”, lack of access to external markets, and lack of value addition of the fresh oysters (processing into other finished products)

Lydia Sasu, the Executive Director, Development Action Association (DAA), says it is the hope that the women would take up oyster harvesting as a business to alleviate poverty and subsequently achieve food security.

She stated that, this appraisal is only the beginning and with the support of the Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP) and the USAID, various trainings, oyster value additions in their processes, mangrove planting and many other activities would be embarked on to strengthened the women harvesters for them manage their resources themselves in a more sustainable way.

“Our overall goal is to assist these women and the community at large to use their own resources in a sustainable way and to improve their living and family standards, we are at DAA care about rural women and we want to see them happy,” Mrs Sasu said.