Mere was set up to provide an all-encompassing, turnkey solution to reforestation of degraded forest land in Ghana. It is estimated that Ghana has lost over 60% of it’s forest cover from 1950 to the turn of the last century (2.7 million hectares). Ghana’s deforestation rate has been approximately 3% per year (320,803 ha/year) since 2000. Recent years have also seen a marked increase in the deforestation rate. From 2013 to 2015, the annual deforestation rate in Ghana rose to 794,214 ha per annum.
Reafforestation of degraded forest with non-commercial, or slow growing trees will make the global pace of reafforestation extremely slow. There is a lack of harmony and understanding between the commercial plantation companies, such as Mere Plantations, and the NGO and Aid communities.
In the current global economic environment, the desire for Reafforestation is not matched by the financial ability of the Global community to fund the required number of trees. There is a huge amount of money from a number of sources spent each year on reports and consultants. To most people, the message is loud and clear, that the need for tree planting is now greater than ever. Whilst the planting remains mostly reliant on governments, aid organisations and charitable organisations, it is unlikely the required volume will ever be achieved.
For significant progress to be made in global reafforestation, the global corporate machine needs to be mobilised. For this to happen, in any material volume, the business of growing trees for profit need to be established, and to become accepted through a proven track record. Mere have spent over 10 years developing a commercial model, that generates margin in the most productive and sustainable way. The long lead times expected and understood by all in the tree growing industries are being challenged.
Time from investment to monetisation in the hardwood plantations has long been a barrier to entry for many. Time horizons for the majority, in both business and investment fall significantly short of those required for forest/plantation development on the vast majority of the world’s available lands.