Drogba kicks off ‘million trees’ project in Ivory Coast


Abidjan (AFP) – Football legend Didier Drogba helped launch a drive Friday to plant a million trees to halt deforestation in Ivory Coast.

The “One Day, One Million Trees” campaign “is a first step, the start of the recovery,” Forestry and Water Resources Minister Alain Richard Donwahi said in Abidjan, the country’s main city.

“Our goal is to recover at least 30 percent (of lost forest cover) by 2030,” he said.

Most of Ivory Coast’s 20,000 square kilometres (7,700 square miles) of forests are considered badly degraded.

Drogba said the “numbers are alarming,” referring to projections that the tropical West African nation would lose all its forest cover in half a century if corrective steps were not taken.

“I am proud to contribute to Ivory Coast’s reforestation through helping awareness,” the former Chelsea star said, describing the tree planting as a “noble initiative.”

Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest cocoa producer and a major coffee exporter, plans to reforest eight million hectares (20 million acres) by 2045.