Welcome to Berekum East Municipal Assembly

Tourism Art and Culture


THE MFANSI SACRED GROVE

Mfansi, is the name of a Sacred Grove located at the north eastern part of Kato (a small community in the Berekum Municipality in the Bono Region) along the Sunyani Berekum highway.  It is about one and half kilometres from the centre of Berekum.  It is believed to be an area haunted by spirits.  The grove is about 40 hectares in size.  The name “Mfansi” came about through a historical event that took place some years back.

mfensi site

 

According to oral tradition, the first settlers lived in the Kato Community and hunted around the forest reserve which is now the known as “Mfansi Sacred Grove”. 

 

The hunters among the people hunted for game around the forest reserve, and also made their farms along the edges of the forest.  The people had the feeling that there was some powerful spirit dwelling in that portion of forest reserve. The people stayed clear of this area and never performed any farming activity very close to it as they believed the area to be haunted by spirits and as such they considered it “a no go area”.

 

However, a stranger to the Kato Community in those days happened to ease himself at the edge of the forest reserve. Suddenly, he heard a strange voice from the forest that shouted “Mfa nsi ho” which literally means “don’t put it there”.

 

The stranger got very frightened and rushed to the town to announce to the elders his encounter with the strange voice from the forest reserve. From that day, the forest was named after the phrase “Mfa nsi ho”, a name which was reframed by the natives with time to gain its present name “Mfansi”.

tour

“Mfansi” Sacred Grove is characterised by tall tropical trees some of which are:

  • Wawa
  • Mahogany
  • Ceiba
  • Odum
  • Ofram
  • Cidrella
  • Asanfena
  • Wabire etc.

 

Historically the Sacred Grove houses a shrine called “Mfansi” and it is bordered on its southern edge by the sacred “Bodwese” stream. The stream is seasonal but tends to overflow its banks whenever there is torrential rainfall.  The stream has in it species of aquatic organisms that include mud fish, some species of tilapia, crabs and a variety of aquatic weeds.

 

Friday is a day that has been set aside by the traditional people of the community for worshiping the spirits believed to be dwelling in the forest.  On this day, the people of Kato do not engage themselves in any farming activity; rather libation is poured to invoke the spirits in the “Mfansi Sacred Grove”, to seek their blessings and guidance etc.

 

REHABILITATION

EPA, Kato Community, Kato stool elders in collaboration with NGO based in Kato named Environment of Hope (EoHOPE) are planting different species of trees to keep the forest in good shape.  About 5000 trees have been planted so far.

 

CHALLENGES

The sad news is that unless an immediate attempt is made to protect this grove, we may lose it for posterity since attempts are made by some unscrupulous people to cut some or all the economic species using chainsaw and farming activities.

 

On another level, some hunters enter the grove unannounced to hunt some of the animals in it.  The Traditional Authorities will not be able to protect it by ourselves.  It is in this light that, the Traditional Authorities in collaboration with Environment of Hope (EoHOPE) an NGO based in Kato are appealing to other organizations like Forestry Commission to come in to help save the situation just as EPA is doing.  If this is done posterity will appreciate our action.

 

THE NEED FOR THE PROTECTION AND CONSERVATION OF THE SACRED GROVE:

Indeed, available pockets of sacred groves in the region are being subjected to all sorts of degradation including encroachments, illegal logging, bushfires and others.  The Sacred grove is obviously the last hope of remnants of typical tropical forests in the region since it is clearly uncommon to notice any rich forests aside “Mfansi” Sacred. 

 

The Grove may not necessarily be the perfect rich source of biodiversity since virtually all of them have been interfered with human activities and most invariably bushfires.  With religious links of the “Mfansi” Sacred Grove (shrine) and the fact that Kato community has protected it over the years make it quite unique among the sacred groves in the region and the nation as a whole.

 

Secondly, the present status of the sacred grove relative to the totally degraded surrounding lands tend to give credence to the local effort put in by the community in protecting this rich natural heritage. 

 

Thirdly, its strategic location along Sunyani – Berekum road makes it one of the most highly rated potential areas for tourist investment. 

 

Finally, now that tourism occupies very strong position in terms of raking in foreign exchange and thereby having been put on priority agenda in both national and international perspective puts this sacred grove in a unique position for urgent development. It is against this background that any development of this sacred grove to mimic the much publicized “Kakum” National Forest will be a big plus for the community, the region and the country as a whole.

umrella

 

DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE:

Any development initiative of the grove should emphases on the protection and conservation with the long term objective of making it a tourist attraction destination that would benefit the Kato Community and the Country at large.

 

The short term/specific objectives of any initiative may include the following:

  1. Re-demarcating the entire sacred grove/re measuring the size of the grove to determine the actual size and planting cassia at the boundary/periphery.
  2. Introducing tropical timber species that are rare or nearing extinction through enrichment planting.
  3. Introducing medicinal plants for the purpose of research into plan medicine.
  4. Enlarging the periphery of the grove through tree planting to serve as buffer.
  5. Exploring the possibility of developing the site as a miniature of “Kakum” National Park.
  6. Reintroducing NTFPs (Non-timber forest products) such as snails, rattan edible mushrooms etc.
  7. Fencing the grove with wire mesh to trap species of animals including ungulates and furthermore to prevent other species that may be introduced from escaping into the surroundings.

 

INDICATIVE ACTIVITIES TO ACHIEVING DEVELOPMENT OF THE GROVE:

The very nature of any development initiative of the Mfansi Sacred Grove calls for nothing short of not less than five years sustained implementation of components of the initiative.  The initiative (project) then will have to be divided into five phases viz. phase 1 (first year), phase 2 (second year), phase 3 (third year), phase 4 (four year) and phase 5 (fifth year).

Phase 1 (1st Year)

Proper demarcation of the entire grove involving surveying, pillaring and developing the cadastral plan. 

 

Additionally, identification of flora and fauna will also be carried out.

 

Phase 2 (2nd Year)

  1. Boundary clearing of the entire grove and planting cassia at the periphery.
  2. Fencing the sacred grove with wire mesh.

 

Phase 3 (3rd Year)

  1. Development of good peripheral footpath that can be used by tourist for hiking around the grove and in addition construction of a small footbridge across the “Bodwese” stream.
  2. Procurement of tree seedlings for enrichment planting.
  3. To introduce medicinal herbs/shrubs into the grove.

 

Phase 4 (4th Year)

  1. Introduction of snail/mushroom and relevant NTFPs into the grove.
  2. Introduction of various species of animals (eg. Pangolin. Tortoise etc.) into the grove’s ecological system.

 

Phase 5 (5th Year)

  1. Building a security post at the main entrance to the grove
  2. Development of narrow footpaths within the sacred grove to facilitate movement by tourists
  3. Final monitoring and evaluation of the development initiative.

visit

 

 

LIKELY OUTPUTS

  1. Sacred Grove expanded to over 40 acres (by conservative estimate) through peripheral/buffer establishment
  2. Fencing/construction of footbridge effected
  3. Rare/endangered tropical plant species introduced and protected
  4. Medicinal plants introduced
  5. Species of animals introduced
  6. Security post constructed
  7. Sacred Grove developed to tourist attraction destination
  8. Local economy boosted directly from tourism and indirectly from multiplier effects

 

MANAGEMENT

We have set up an 11 member committee to see to the implementation of the project chaired by Mr. S. Y. Boakye, Nana Afia Siraa Ababio III (Queen mother), O[p. Kofi Peprah (Vice Chairman), Mr. Siaw Samuel (Secretary), Kwabena Boye, Op. Kwabena Asante (Chief Linguist), Op. Kwasi Addai, Kwabena Osei, Mr. James Mensah and Mad. Mary Benneh.


CLICK TO VIEW PHOTOS OF MFENSI SACRED GROVE