Vodza-Adzido Eco-Tourism Development Initiative in collaboration with the Keta Municipal Assembly is set to organize first of its kind, one-day Community-led Regatta Competition and Tours to the Islands on the Keta Lagoon Complex on Easter Saturday, 16th April, 2022.
The Initiative represents a dream that has existed since the reclamation of the land from the sea (Atlantic Ocean) and the dredging of the Keta Lagoon in the 1990s. It is a dream aimed at transforming Vodza- Adzido’s ecological and cultural resources into an iconic tourism destination with conservation of biodiversity for present and future generations; through investment in infrastructure and superstructure facilities.
According to the organizers of the project, “the Plan seeks to create synergies among stakeholders and planning approaches to provide much-needed investment, jobs, and income streams and to set the path for the development agenda of Vodza-Adzido and for that matter the Keta Municipality”.
The former Chairperson of the Public Services Commission now-retired Public Servant and currently, the Chairperson, Board of Trustees of The Initiative, Bridget Katsriku (Mrs.) in an interview with gbcghanaonline.com said, the objectives of the Five-Year Ecotourism Development Plan are to promote livelihoods and tackle poverty, in the Municipality in general and Vodza-Adzido, in particular, through:
a. Harnessing of natural and cultural resources to encourage international and domestic tourism;
b. Creating direct and indirect jobs;
c. Enhancing supply and value chains to diversify local economic development;
d. Promoting investment in infrastructure and superstructure facilities; and,
e. Promoting synergies amongst formal stakeholders, investors and indigenous people.
The first Regatta competition in the Municipality is anticipated to attract the active participation of fishermen from surrounding fishing communities within the Keta Municipality. The trip to the Islands is targeted at domestic and international tourists who want to visit the Keta Municipality and partake of events during Easter.
Mrs. Katsriku added that the two events will add value to the usual Easter durbars and showcase Vodza-Adzido in particular and the Municipality in general, to both local people and visitors, with stress on the fact that “this Easter’s unique Regatta and tour event will also provide an opportunity for local residents and service providers to promote the municipality’s tourism-related amenities (hotels, cuisine, dance, music, souvenirs, etc.)”.
Meanwhile, the Office of the Royal Togbi Kukubor Stool (Dufia Of Vodza), Keta has raised a red flag over the upcoming project relying on a number of issues related to conservatories and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands associated with the Keta Lagoon Complex as they argued that, the clearing exercise on one of seven conservatories created during the Keta reclamation of the land from the sea and the dredging of the Keta Lagoon to serve as habitat for migratory birds and the protection of the same is being defeated.
The Family accused the organizers of using hazardous weedicides and setting the place ablaze before weeding, allegations Madam Katriku denied but acknowledged the fact that the Local Organizing Planning Committee has gone beyond areas marked for temporal footpath and shelter for the tourists in order to adhere to laid down rules to preserve the conservatory.
A letter dated 6th December 2021 signed by Anani-Gbadza Kukubor Head of Royal Kukubor Family and Regent of Vodza, and Kofi B. Kukubor Elder, Royal Kukubor Family and Communication Officer directed to Madam Bridget Katsriku seen by our source also denied any knowledge about community involvement, “The Royal Kukubor family and Dumegawo of the Vodza community have not approved, authorized, or constituted any board, association or company to assume any development project(s) on its behalf and/or on behalf of the good people of Vodza.
”The Royal Kukubor family, therefore, wishes to state that your Board is alien, unconstitutional, and its objectives not known. The Royal Kukubor family wishes to emphasize that, there are established rules, regulations, and laws of the Republic of Ghana governing community entry procedures and community resources”.
The Keta-Anloga District of the Forestry Commission, Wildlife Division, has disclosed that the Commission is aware of the programme they are going to meet the organizers on Wednesday13th April 2022 to ascertain what exactly they intend to do.
According to Lawrence Ocloo Tetteh from the Wildlife Division, The Managers of the Keta Lagoon Complex, said, they are not against Ecotourism but things must be done within the law so as not to disturb the birds and other living organisms that will lead to the destruction of the EcoSystem.
In a related development, The Keta Municipal Chief Executive Emmanuel Gemegah is yet to respond to some of the issues.
The Keta Lagoon, also called Anlo-Keta lagoon, is the largest of the over 90 lagoons that cover the 550 km stretch of the coastline of Ghana.
This lagoon is 126.13 km in length. It is located in the eastern coast of Ghana and separated from the Gulf of Guinea by a narrow strip of sandbar.
Keta Lagoon Protected Area is an amazingly beautiful natural harbor and park, situated in the southern part of Mepe province in southeastern Ghana; and it is a paradise for those who enjoy fishing, boating, or discovering local nature.