Hon. Benito Owusu-Bio, a Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources in charge of Forestry, has re-affirmed government commitment to protecting the Achimota Forest Reserve as part of its afforestation drive to green Ghana.
He said portions of the forest, totalling 361 acres, of the 479- hectare Forest Reserve, had been declassified and would be given to the pre-acquisition owners, the Owoo Family, as compensation.
Mr Owusu-Bio, during a tour of the Achimota Forest Reserve, with journalists on Thursday, said the declassification would not affect its integrity and biodiversity.
He said the Ministry, over the last five years, had undertaken aggressive afforestation within the forest reserve to improve its ecosystem.
Following the publication of the Forests (Cessation of Forest Reserve) Executive Instrument, 2022 (E.I 144), there have been reports circulating in some sections of the media that the Achimota Forest Reserve had been sold to a private developer.
He explained that there were two instruments; the Forests (Cessation of Forest Reserve ) (E.I 144) in 2022, and the Forests (Achimota Firewood Plantation Forest Reserve) (Amendment) Instrument, 2022 (E.I. 154).
The first E.I makes the peripheral (361 acres), which had already been granted to the Owoo Family in 2013, with portions developed, cease to be a Forest Reserve, while the second E.I. amends the area of the land that should continue as a Forest Reserve.
Mr Owusu-Bio said the Achimota Forest remained an integral part of the Government's plan for the protection of the forest cover and its agenda for aggressive afforestation and reforestation.
Through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, it would continue to protect the Achimota Forest and prevent it from further encroachment.
"Government is also committed to ensuring that whatever that happens on the peripheral portions of the land did not affect the ecological integrity of the Forest.”
Mr John Allotey, the Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, said the Achimota Forest trees could be classified as shrubs, therefore, the Commission, through its Youth in Afforestation Programme, had been planting trees to make it a real forest reserve.
He took the delegation to the Central Nursery, where different species of seedlings were being nursed ahead of the June 10 Green Ghana Day intended to plant 20 million trees across the country.
Mr Samuel Mensah, the Education Manager of the Accra Zoo, took the Deputy Minister and his entourage round the Zoo and briefed them on the various animals and bird species inhabited there.