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Gov’t to take decisive action to halt forest degradation

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Forest1The Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Ms Barbara Serwaah Asamoah, has said firm and decisive action would be taken to halt the growing degradation of the forest and its resources.

The plunder and destruction would have to end, she said, adding that, they would go after the offenders and bring them to justice.

The Forest Commission (FC) is already in talks with the Attorney General’s Department to ensure speedy prosecution of such people.

Ms Asamoah was speaking during her inspection of the Fomanso Forest Reserve in the Asante-Akim South District at the start of a two-day official visit to the Ashanti Region.

The forest, she said, is critical to the nation’s economy, with annual earnings from timber exports put between €250 million and €280 million.

She expressed the government determination to get denuded reserves replanted under the National Forest Plantation Development Programme, saying, 26,000 hectares had already been covered within the last three years.

“Ofram”, “emire” and ‘cedrella” are among the known timber species planted.

She said the programme apart from restoring the forest cover is also meant to generate jobs for the people as well as enhance national food security.

About GH¢48 million has so far been invested in it and an additional GH¢24 million would be spent this year.

She commended the Commission for efforts it is making to make the programme a success and assured them that they would be supported with the needed logistics.

Mr Hugh Brown, Director of Plantations, promised people working in the plantations that their unpaid wages would soon be cleared.

The Ashanti Regional Manager of the Forest Services Division (FSD), Mr Joseph Boakye, complained about violent attacks on their workers by illegal chainsaw operators and miners and pleaded for more security protection.

Source: GNA

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