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Equip Forestry Commission to enforce forest laws – Tropenbos Ghana

Tropenbos Ghana, an NGO, has called on government to equip the Forestry Commission to enforce forest laws banning farming in forest reserves.

Mr Daniel Kofi Abu, a Project Coordinator at Tropenbos Ghana, said the Commission should be provided with personal and equipment to enable it undertake real time monitoring, patrol and enforce the laws.

Mr Abu was speaking at a media briefing held to highlight ‘changes needed in the cocoa sector to halt deforestation in Ghana’.

The policy brief was drafted by Tropenbos Ghana after conducting a survey on the impact of encroachment of forest reserves by cocoa farmers in the Krokosua Hills, Sui River and Tano Offin forest reserves.

He said past and present governments have not had the courage to deal with cocoa farmers’ encroachment into forest reserves due to the commodity’s contribution to the economy.

He said Ghana stands to lose more forest reserves from these encroachments in the coming years, “if a business as usual approach to forest management and governance continues.”

As part of the recommendations, Tropendos urged government to be bold in implementing the core actions in the National Resettlement Plan for admitted forms, settlement and take steps to mitigate the social risk to minimise potential adverse on social and economic consequences on farmers.

Mr Abu said private sector signatories to the joint framework for action should finance forest restoration programmes in cocoa encroached areas.

The Project Coordinator encouraged called on chiefs, politicians and other stakeholders to lead the fight against the encroachment in forest reserves.

“CSOs should also lead the campaign to name and shame perpetrators, who violate the forest laws,” he said.

He said the encroachment into forest reserves were driven by causes such as low Cocoa productivity per hectare, the need for cultivable land for food crop farming and the limited availability of land due to large area of land attributed to forest reserves.

He said the cocoa industry could help address the problem at hand by supporting the Commission to finance reforestation programmes and supporting the implementation of the National Resettlement Framework under REDD±.

Source: GNA

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