Train people in forest vocation to manage plantations – Dr Abeney

Dr E.A Abeney, a member of the Working Group (WG) on Forest Certification, has called on forest plantation owners and timber firms to train their farm workers in basic tree and forest care practices.

This was necessary for the development of healthy plantation and the sustainability of the nation’s forests.

He said people trained in vocational skills in forestry were needed as farm hands to provide technical expertise in tree care and management to maintain efficient plantation growth.

Dr Abeney made the call at a training workshop on responsible social forestry for owners of timber firms, the media, timber workers and forestry officers at the Wood Industries Training Centre (WITC) at Akyawkrom, near Ejisu on Friday.

Organized by the WG on Forest Certification of the National Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the goal was to encourage owners of timber firms and contractors to actively engage community members in their concession areas to participate in forest management, law enforcement, prevention of illegal logging and other negative activities in the forest.

It was also to remind them about the need to honour their social responsibility agreements to allow for peace while protecting the rights of their workers both at the factory floor and in the communities they were doing the logging.

Dr Abeney said if conscious efforts were not made to replant the fast depleting forest, many people would lose their jobs.

He urged the timber companies to provide basic protective gear for their employees to promote safety at the work place.

Additionally, he said, they should offer regular on-the-job training for the employees and institute group insurance to protect workers in their line of duty.

Mr Emmanuel Amoah Boakye, Executive Secretary of the WG noted the critical role played by the forest fringe communities in forest management and protection and asked the timber firms to recognize this and engage them.

He said forest certification required that forest resources were managed efficiently to meet among other things, the needs of communities while protecting the rights of workers at the factory and on the farm.

Source: GNA

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