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Government should not tolerate wanton destruction of forest reserves - Chief Farmer

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January 12, 2011 Akwapem Susubiri (E/R), Jan. 12, GNA - Opanyin Obuabi Mensah, Chief Farmer of Akwapem Susubiri in the Eastern Region, has urged the Ministry of Lands and Forestry to take a serious look at the fast rate at which the forest reserves and rain forests were being destroyed by chainsaw operators and mining companies in the country.

Opanyin Mensah said it was time those companies were tasked to invest heavy amounts of money into the re-afforestation programmes, as well as engage people in the local communities where they plied their businesses in tree planting as a way of creating employment to enable the country to reclaim some of its lost forest reserves.

Opanyin Mensah made these suggestions at a communal labour session organised by farmers from the communities in the area, during which they filled pot-holes and reconstructed some wooden bridges on the roads which are of great service as far as transportation in the communities are concerned.

He said indiscriminate felling of trees in the forest reserves, especially by chainsaw operators should be stopped completely, adding that the forest reserves which had been given out to foreign mining companies were of great concern to the people because of the magnitude of degradation caused on the land.

He urged the authorities to look critically at the mining laws again, and if necessary to review some parts of it in order to protect the forest reserves.

The Chief Farmer expressed worry about the current rainfall patterns, and warned that if care was not taken to protect the country's vegetation food production would not be sustained in the near future.

Opanyin Mensah called for the involvement of chiefs, assembly members and opinion leaders in their various communities in the protection of the forest reserves and water bodies and advocated for a stiffer punishment for those who break the rules and regulations concerning forest reserves.

He suggested that the Government should set aside a day in every year for a tree planting exercise throughout the country during which every citizen should plant at least one tree.


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