Clearing of existing tree crop for replanting can be done manually using power saws for the larger trees and axes/cutlasses for the smaller growth. Larger timber trees providing shade within Coffee and Cocoa plantations should be removed only with FDA permission (as they may be rare and endangered species) and then should be milled to provide timber/lumber for repair of buildings and bridges, while smaller wood should be prepared for home fuel. Old Rubber trees have a variety of uses (i.e. lumber, furniture, fuel wood), whereas old Oil Palm trees have little commercial value due to their highly fibrous nature, though they can be used for some furniture and fencing, and the sap used to make palm wine (though this only for a short period after felling). Buchanan Renewables is currently purchasing old rubber trees for exporting and soon to supply fuelwood for a new 36 MW Biomass Power Plant when construction is completed. Cleared vegetation not removed for commercial reasons should be wind-rowed along the contour between lines set out for planting to act as barriers to surface run-off and consequent soil erosion. Lining the plantings on the contour will also make it easier for plantation workers where the landscape is undulating to hilly. The soil surface should disturbed as little as possible, unless there is good reason to remove the tree roots (e.g. due to root disease). When clearing land areas where slopes are greater than 10 percent should not be cleared but left as of natural vegetation and a strip of natural vegetation 50 meters wide adjacent to any stream or water body should be left uncleared to protect the feature from soil erosion and filter run-off from the farm areas. Where possible, areas of natural vegetation should be interlinked to provide biodiversity links. Clearing and planting as well as the fallow period should be closely monitored to assure that no soil erosion is occurring and where such is the case, immediate remedial action is to be taken.
Clearing of non-tree crop land for tree crop planting: This refers to land that is not currently planted to any of the targeted tree crops. It may be fallow land of any age as well as mature secondary or even primary forest. However, it is unlikely that the proposed project will support clearing of mature forest for plantations as the World Bank’s policy (OP 4.04 and especially OP 4.36) is not to site projects on land that has good quality forest unless there is sound justification (i.e. no other land available or a very compelling cost-benefit analysis). Thus any new land initially brought into the sector must be community fallow land or possibly recently logged forest. Once the area to be planted is identified, the screening procedure in this ESMF should be applied and the appropriate environmental and social impact analysis should be carried out, followed by preparation of an ESMP where adverse impacts are identified. Such an ESMP should also identify clearance procedure that avoids adverse environmental impacts or where this is not possible set out how these are to be mitigated.
Establishment of ground cover: Where the land surface has been left bare as a result of the clearing, it is imperative that a groundcover be established quickly. A legume such as Pueraria phaseolides or similar species should be planted to quickly establish a complete ground cover which will remain until the new tree crop provides a full canopy (this depends on the type of crop grown but may be up to 6 or 7 years). The use of a legume as opposed to a non-legume has the advantage of improving the natural fertility of the soil, and in some cases assists in pest control (e.g. infestation of Oryctes rhinoceros in Oil Palm).
To reduce the impact of loss of income, farms should consider intercropping food crops in the rows between tree lines. This will be possible until the trees at large enough to shade the entire area. However, this could mean that the tree crop will take longer to mature.
There is a potential of indirect adverse impacts as a result of non-project participants recycling the removed vegetation through production of charcoal, furniture and other production. Where the actors are part of the beneficiary community, they should have been recipients of environmental awareness training and accessible to the PIU, CAC and EPA County staff who can monitor and report any adverse environmental and social impact activity. Where these actors are not part of the community, but benefiting indirectly from the project, the project Monitors should report them to the EPA and other relevant authorities.
Chemical Usage and Management
In the field, the highest risk of pollution is from the handling of any potentially hazardous chemicals used. Proper care needs to be taken to avoid spillage and leakage, particularly of concentrated solutions. Concentrated chemicals should be stored and diluted for field application at a central specially designed location for individual farmers to collect. This will minimize the risk of contamination and wastage. To further reduce contamination, a proper regime for handling and disposal of empty chemical containers. Ideally these should be returned to the supplier for re-use when new supplies are purchased. Alternatively, Farmer Organizations might purchase the diluted fungicides and pesticides from the Supplier, but these will also need to be safely handled and stored.
Owners/workers should be protected from direct contact with the chemicals through the use of appropriate protective apparel and equipment (gloves, clothing, goggles etc.) and given training in the proper procedures for the handling of hazardous materials. This might be done under contract with the Input Supplier. A further refinement would be to train a few members of the community to conduct all spraying on member farms. This will reduce the potential for accidents and could be a means to create employment in the community.
The Environmental Protection and Management Law (EPML) Part V Sections 52 and 53 covers the management of hazardous chemicals.
For more details on the management of agro-chemicals, see Annex F – Pest Management Plan.
While many small farmers may wish to establish their own nurseries, the project will support the establishment of large scale seed gardens/nurseries (SME’s). These larger nurseries will require irrigation to support the seedlings during the dry season. Each will require a water storage reservoir and a water distribution system. They will also require chemical handling facilities, and may also require initial land clearing (see above). Potential adverse impacts of water reservoir establishment will be increase sediment load in the water channel during dam construction and reduction in water available to downstream users (within and without the stream bed) during the dry season when stream flow will be at a minimum and irrigation demand highest.
Stream contamination during dam construction can be avoided/significantly reduced by preparing a temporary channel around the dam site, but reduction in dry season stream flow is likely to be a permanent impact. The extent on the latter should be investigated before dam construction and a mitigation plan detailed.
For the most part rehabilitation of the feeder roads, if done with care, will not impact adversely on the surrounding environment. The exception will be where new road is constructed, particularly if it affords access to formerly remote natural habitat, or where the contractor clears more vegetation than necessary or allows contamination of the drainage ways when reconstructing the culverts and bridges. A mitigation plan should be detailed in each contract.
The Warehouses will be used to receive, store and dispatch crops after harvest and/or processing and will mainly apply to the small farmer cocoa/coffee subsectors. These will be relatively small structures on the edge of market towns and thus the potential adverse impacts will be during construction (land clearing, noise, dust, increased local traffic) and thus temporary.
The principle adverse environmental impacts during crop processing will be the emissions from the processing plant. These will be:
Emission to Land and Water (e.g. Liquid and Solid Waste)
Emissions to Air (e.g. gases and noise)
Liquid Waste Management Liquid waste can lead to significant potential environmental impact depending on its source (e.g. processing effluent, run-off from processing and maintenance facilities) and the amount generated daily. Thus the potential impacts are greater for plantations with large factories where large amounts of waste water are produced daily than on small farms or village processing units. Where significant quantities of liquid waste result in pollution of nearby water-bodies specific mitigation measures need to be in place. An example effluent treatment for a typical rubber or oil palm plantation is shown in Figure 3. A similar flow diagram could be prepared for smaller operations, though these would be of smaller scale. The Concessions who are partners in the proposed project are subject to EPA environmental regulations under contract and thus have in place or are working towards having in place the requisite management plans. The same (with slight modification) should be required of smaller processing units operated by Farmer Organizations or Cooperatives in future.
Solid Waste Management Solid Waste will occur from a variety of sources. The greater portion of solid waste will be natural vegetation (i.e. plant and tree parts). Most of this waste will be as a result of farm/plantation management (e.g. pruning’s, foliage, harvest platforms) and also organic waste from the processing (pulp, pods, fruit stalks) which can be composted or returned to decompose in the field, provided they are not a host to specific pests and plant diseases, thus assisting with fertility maintenance. Other solid waste will include obsolete equipment and containers made from a variety of materials. Such material should be removed from the farm/plantation, and if not recycled should be disposed of according to and EPA approved Waste Management Plan.
Atmospheric Emissions The main sources of emissions to air are the processing factory, power plants and combustion engines. Given that there only a handful of the large factories and that they normally have large areas of plantation surrounding them, the impact can be considered low, though of course they do contribute, however small amount, to the total global levels of pollution. Vehicle and the power plant exhaust produce the most serious emissions but these can be kept to a minimum by regular engine service and maintenance. More noticeable are the odors that result from harvesting and in processing (of rubber in particular), and emissions of water vapor in the drying process (of all crops) neither of which cause any harm. In the field (farm/plantation) natural processes tend to neutralize the odor in a relatively short time, while at any processing facility these odors can be all pervasive, they can be minimized by appropriate ventilation and regular cleaning.
Table 16:Example Factory Effluent Treatment Flow Diagram
The areas of highest noise pollution tend to be around the processing facility with attended power plant, machinery repair facility and concentrated vehicle activity. Regular maintenance of engines and machinery and use of silencing techniques can significantly reduce the overall impact. Farm/plantation noise pollution is usually occasional as the source is most frequently a passing vehicle. The loudest is the intermittent sound of a power saw clearing fallen trees and vehicle backing beepers. Most significant will be where there is clearing for replanting, where noise of power saws and heavy equipment will be relatively constant. However, it will be temporary in that the activity takes place over a relatively short period of time at any given location. Operators of such equipment are the most affected and should have appropriate protective equipment.
Health and Safety issues
Within any plantation there is always the possibility of accidents (i.e. exposure to pesticides, splash of latex serum in the eye of a rubber tapper, cuts from sharp harvesting and maintenance equipment, falling trees or branches), With training and experience, accidents can be minimized.