In 2015, Ghana under the Bonn Challenge pledged to reforest some two million (8,97%) hectares of its lost forest cover by 2030 during the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) that ushered in the Paris Agreement. This translates to an area of 238,873 hectares representing some 1.05% of its total forest area of 22, 754,000. This will contribute to the sequestration of 1,872,220 carbon dioxide and create 83, 181 jobs in the country.
Ghana’s pledge forms part of a pledge by the African Union to bring 100 million hectares of land to restoration by 2030. AFR100 contributes to the Bonn Challenge, the African Union Agenda 2063, the Sustainable Development Goals, and other targets.
The West African country’s forest cover has seen an astonishing eighty per cent (80%) depletion to the current state of one million, six hundred thousand (1.6m) hectares as against the eight million two hundred thousand (8.2 million) hectares in nineteen hundred (1900).
As efforts are being intensified to meet its target and contribute to reducing global warming and protecting the planet under an “aggressive aforestation” initiative, President of the Republic of Ghana H.E Nana Dankwa Akufo-Addo on 11th June 2021 led Ghanaians to plant some 5 million seedlings of tree species across all sixteen regions under Green Ghana: Let’s go planting celebration.
“This situation is as a result of years of degradation, deforestation, lack of effective afforestation and action. Ghana’s forest cover is depleting at a very alarming and unsustainable rate, and the time to do something about it is now,” the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources Lawyer Abudulai Jinapor bemoaned during a speech delivered on 11th June.
Thirteenth October 2021, will see heads of the various Forestry Commissions under Ghana’s Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources meet in the national capital Accra to account for their stewardship and plan for 2022 tree planting day. The sector Minster hinted during his meetings with staff of the Forestry Commission in the five regions of the north during his five-day working visit.
“The Ministry is going to hold a big consultation this October to review the Green Ghana efforts. What we have done so far, how far the trees are faring, and plan for next year,” he said.
In the Northern region, Mr Jinapor inspected tree species planted at the Gbewa Palace by the King of Dagbon Ya-Na Mahama Abukar II.
“You can see the Ya-Na is taking care of the tree well and am particularly impressed,” Mr Jinapor said.
In the Northeast region, the minister inspected tree seedlings planted by the King of Mamprugu – Nayiri Abdulai Bohagu Mahami Sheriga those planted at the Gambaga Girls Senior High School.
While he was impressed by the growth in the trees at the Gbewa Palace and Gambaga Girls SHS, he was disappointed at the growth of the tree planted by the Nayiri which is under the care of the Forestry Commission in the region.
“What I’m seeing isn’t encouraging to me. This is a symbolic tree planted by the Nayiri. ”
“I’m expecting that all the trees are planted on Green Ghana day are looked after properly, it’s only through that we can convince the country to come along next year to plant more trees. If you plant the trees and you don’t look after them, nobody will listen to you again when you tell them to come out to plant because you’d be wasting their time, he stressed.
But the team from the regional forestry commission argued, “This is an indigenous tree which doesn’t grow like the exotic trees. Mulch and fertilizer application isn’t the practice of Forestry.”
Some 98,000 seedlings of tree species have been planted in the Northeast region. 78,000 were planted in the East Mamprusi district while 2,000 were planted in the West Mamprusi municipality.
In a press briefing following the visit by the sector Minister, the Deputy Regional Manager of the Forestry Commission Appiah Kwaku David appealed for a concerted effort to nurture the trees blaming the irregular rain pattern for the state of some of the seedlings.
“Minister came here and when we went to one of the trees, we noticed it’s being tended. We’re praying that schools, institutions, and the community will get involved to help us maintain the trees because it’s a shared responsibility,” he appealed.
Gov’t to Regularize Employment of Youth in Afforestation.
The Minister for Lands and Natural Resource Lawyer Samuel A. Jinapor also hinted about the government’s efforts to regularize the employment of Youth in Agriculture and Afforestation module of the National Youth Employment Programme. NYEP was launched in 2006 to address the ever-increasing problem of unemployment among the youth, perceived to be a potential threat to National Security.
Mr Jinapor in a meeting with members in the Northern, Northeast, Savannah, Upper East and Upper West regions implored them to nurture the trees to maturity while wooing them with an improved employment structure.
“The Minister of Finance has assured me that the matter of irregular payment of the youth in afforestation allowances will be a thing of the past in the fiscal year of 2022,” he intimated.
“But that also means that we also have to work hard. We have to be in our uniform, get out there, plant the trees and look after them. I know we can do it together,” he added.
There is over a thousand youth in afforestation in the Northeast alone.
Call it the day of reckoning, caretakers of the seedlings in all 16 regions of Ghana will have to defend why seedlings in their jurisdictions did or didn’t do well. They will also proffer sustainable plans for Green Ghana.
By: Zubaida Mabuno Ismail | www.zamireports.com | Ghana.