YEKEPA-ArcelorMittal Liberia’s Environmental Department in collaboration with a non-governmental organization, Committee for Peace and Development Advocacy (COPDA), has commenced an Agro Reforestation Program in Bolo, a community of impact around its Yekepa concession area.
The reforestation project is part of ArcelorMittal Liberia’s Biodiversity Conservation Program (BCP) which is intended to introduce commercial and sustainable farming methods to local farmers and to replant trees that are destroyed during mining activities.
The program, according to AML’s Agronomist Samuel Peter, helps to reduce the pressure subsistence farming poses on the forest, as destroying the vegetation for farming is a recipe for climate change effects.
At the launch of the Agro Reforestation Program in Bolo recently, Mark Cope, Yuelliton DSO Manager, said that ArcelorMittal is concerned about the environmental impact of mining on the forest and therefore they are prioritizing the replanting of trees that are cut down as a result of AML’s operations.
Mr. Cope said AML will work with the people of Bolo to ensure that the forest does not vanish, but rather, it is maintained to host the varieties of animals that use it as their habitat.
Under the Agro Reforestation Project, COPDA, with support from AML will open 11.5 hectares of oil palm plantation, 11.5 hectares of Cocoa farm, and 11 hectares of Plantain farm.
The project will also supply rice milling machines, farming tools, seedlings and signs, and rice threshers to the farmers.
Ted Brooks, Project Manager for COPDA, disclosed during the launch of the project that they have in the nursery 17,000 seedlings of oil palm, 12,000 seedlings of cocoa, and 17,000 signs of plantain.
Mr. Brooks in a word of appreciation to AML for the support indicated that “This is a dream come through,” noting further that COPDA has conducted a baseline survey for direction and farmers have been organized for the project. Bolo is situated right under the peak of Mount Yuelliton.