ACCRA, Ghana’s Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu, has announced that the government will roll out a comprehensive policy next year to encourage plantation development with the goal of also bringing back the country’s forest cover while developing plantations as a profitable business to support job creation and enhanced incomes for the people.

Amewu said this in an address read out on his behalf at the opening of a one-day workshop on insect infestation in forest plantations at Fumesua, near Kumasi, the capital of Ashanti Region (Province), organized by the Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG) in partnership with the Private Afforestation Developers Organization (PADO) and the Forestry Commission (FC) to highlight emerging pest and disease problems in tree plantations.

The workshop also provided the platform for tree growers to share experiences, discuss effective management of pests in plantations and the role of seed germplasm used for plantation establishment and silvicultural manipulations. It was attended by research scientists, tree growers, private smallholder and commercial plantation developers.

Amewu indicated that banks and financial institutions would be brought in to give support to plantation developers. The Forestry Commission has already been mandated to establish an extension unit to provide technical and extension support to tree growers.

The commission will also set up an efficient fire unit to train and promptly respond to wild fires, which have over the years been devastating commercial plantations.

George Asamoah Amankwaa, the President of PADO, identified forest fires, insect attacks, bad roads and the lack of financial support as some of the challenges facing private forest plantation development in Ghana and called for strong support by the government and the FC to help tackle these.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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