Herdsmen operating around 'Yenku' and other natural forest reserves in the Awutu-Effutu-Senya District are to be given special training on how to prepare grazing grounds for their animals during certain crucial periods of the year.
The move is meant to prevent the herdsmen from burning the bush indiscriminately during the minor dry season to prepare fresh leaves for their animals to feed on.
Mr Richard Gyasi Amoako, Manager of the Winneba District branch of the Forestry Services Division of the Forestry Commission, announced this at Bewadze, near Winneba-Junction, to round off a series of special public durbars organized by the division to educate people living in communities surrounding the 'Yenku' Forest on Wednesday.
Similar events were held at Gomoa-Onyadze, Gomoa-Mankoadze, Gomoa-Asebu and Bewadze and were addressed by Regional Forestry Managers as well as District Officers of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) and the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) in the Awutu-Effutu-Senya District.
It was designed to sensitize inhabitants of the four communities on the devastating effects of wildfires on forest reserves, agriculture resources and other properties annually.
Mr Gyasi-Amoako said investigations indicate that Herdsmen, with the view to obtain fresh green grass to feed their cattle prior to the major dry season, resort to the burning of bushes in the area indiscriminately so that they could get some fresh leaves for their cattle to graze only after a few weeks.
He said the practice was regarded as one of the major contributory factors to wildfires, which caused destruction to forest resources, food crops and other properties.
Mr Gyasi-Amoako cautioned herdsmen that the management of the Forestry Services Division would no longer tolerate such dangerous practice because besides dangers it pose to the existence of the natural forest reserves, it caused serious socio-economic havoc to farmers.
Mr B K Nketsiah, Awutu-Effutu-Senya District Fire Officer, assured officials of the Forestry Services Division of his preparedness to co-operate with them to ensure effective and successful training of the herdsmen.
Mr Nketsiah said the proposed training might involve the demarcation of portions of secondary forests or grasslands in the area and building of big fire belts around the allocated portions for the herdsmen so that when they burn them it would not spread to the forest and food crop farms.
Mr Joseph Yaw Owusu-Kwarteng, Public Relations Officer of the Awutu-Effutu-Senya District Mutual Health Insurance Scheme (AESDMHIS), sensitized the people on the importance of the new national health delivery policy and advised them to register with the scheme to enable them to derive maximum benefit from it.
Mr Owusu-Kwarteng who stood in for the Scheme Manager, Mr Christopher Oddoye, cautioned the inhabitants against the dumping of empty cans and the maintenance of bushy surroundings since such acts could breed mosquitoes and eventually cause the outbreak of malaria.
He said it was only when the people guarded themselves against preventable diseases such as malaria that the scheme could be cost effective.