‘Government committed to restore Ghana’s lost forest cover’ – Abu Jinapor

Samuel Abu Jinapor, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources has emphasised the commitment of the government through the Forestry Commission to restore the country’s lost forest cover which has been drastically degraded over the years.

The Minister gave the assurance when he inaugurated a new regional office for the Forestry Services Division (FSD) commission in Koforidua on Wednesday, May 24, 2023.

Explaining the policy in his keynote address, he said, “Government’s policy on the forestry sector of our country is anchored on two main themes; the first one is our strategy of aggressive afforestation and reforestation…the statistics and pundits tell us that from 1900 till date, we’ve lost some 80 percent of our forest cover as a country and therefore it is the policy and strategy of

government to be involved in aggressive afforestation and reforestation which is why several initiatives have been put in place.”

He furthered that several interventions in the various forest compartments across the country such as an aggressive tree planting on Green Ghana Day to be led by President Akufo-Addo to plant ten million trees will be embarked upon to combat the threat of deforestation, adding that the exercise would improve Ghana’s forest cover by more than 30 million trees since 2001.

According to Mr. Jinapor, issues of forests had become prominent in the governance of the country and in the affairs of the world as well as its impact on climate change.

He named other initiatives such as the cocoa and forest initiative, among others which he stated would be rolled out as part of efforts to recover the country’s lost forest cover.

He added that the government’s second initiative was to protect the existing forests, stressing that the newly built edifice would help facilitate efforts to protect the 49 forest reserves in the Eastern Region.

He assured officials of the Forestry Commission of government support to discharge their mandate without fear or favour. He urged them to “Protect the forest reserves of our country, cordon them off and ward off all intruders whether it is illegal miners or it is agricultural expansionists or it is cocoa or it is illegal loggers.”

With various challenges including logistics, staff welfare, training and empowerment hindering the expected efficiency of the Division, the sector minister assured management and staff of the Commission of the government’s commitment to address their problems to enable them perform efficiently.

Jinapor commended the officials for their efforts to put out their best despite the difficulties and urged them to ensure proper maintenance of the newly built facility to ensure that it stays long to serve its purpose.

The facility finally saw the day of light after a 2-acre plot was acquired for the purpose in 2005. The new office complex has 13 offices, a 60-seater conference room, a kitchenette, a reception, water storage facilities, among others and will house seven forest districts including Oda, Kyebi, Kade, Begoro, Mpraeso, Somanya and Donkorkrom.

The Chief-Executive-Officer (CEO) of the Forestry Commission, John Allotey said despite the plot for the construction of the facility being acquired some 18-years ago, the board of directors of the Commission directed in 2022 that efforts to put up the facility be hastened.

The CEO stressed on the need to ensure stringent measures to protect the Eastern Region’s 49 forest reserves to ensure that they are offered maximum benefits.

He however identified illegal mining, illegal logging and wild fires in some areas such as Kwahu-South as the key drivers of deforestation in the region.

Allottey nevertheless expressed confidence that the new office will provide the needed training and logistics for its frontline staff to help them discharge their mandate.

Ahead of the June 9, 2023 Green Ghana Day, the CEO gave the firm assurance that enough seedlings had been raised for the activity and urged all to participate in the exercise.

On his part, the board chairman of the forestry commission, Tetrete Okuamoah Sekyim II in his remarks noted that it was government’s priority to preserve Ghana’s forests, emphasising that the edifice would facilitate these efforts.

Eastern Regional Manager for the Forestry Services Division, Isaac Noble Eshun thanked the board chairman for ensuring that the project has finally seen the light of day and expressed relief at the new facility which he said offered a conducive working environment contrary to the situation at the previous office.

He was hopeful that the Minister would heed his promise to address the various challenges such as lack of vehicles, fuel to attend to calls, working gear, etc. confronting the division, adding that these if addressed would enhance their efficiency.

“You know, we’re managing forest reserves and forest resources and these are on the grounds and the terrain here is very, very challenging,” said the regional manager”, he stated.

Source: Ghana Web