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01.02.2014 Feature Article

President Mahama's Directive On SADA Is Commendable

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Indeed, Hon. Dr Mustapha Ahmed, Minister of State in charge of Development Authorities spoke very excellently on SADA-ACI and the Guinea fowl contracts on Citi FM eye witness news segment on Friday. I personally associate myself fully with his views with regards to the President's directive to the SADA board to consult the AG department to cancel the afforestation as well as the guinea fowl projects under SADA.

As a natural resource student with an agriculture back ground, I personally think that the afforestation project was not carefully considered before its implementation. The main idea behind the SADA concept if I'm not mistaken is to help bridge the development gap between northern Ghana and southern Ghana. As a result the NDC government brought SADA in 2009 and about 50 districts were identified from the savanna ecological belt or zone (I.e 6 districts from northern part of Brong Ahafo Region, 4 districts from northern Volta and the 3 regions of the north) to benefit from the 20-year lifespan of SADA.

Once again, the concept is excellent however, the selection of the modules as well as their implementation rather seemed to have been hurriedly done especially with respect to the afforestation project. Desertification undoubtedly is a major challenge in the savanna ecological zone and nobody can run away from that bitter reality. It partly has to do with the unavailability of alternative forms of domestic energy. That is really not my point of concentration though.

As stated earlier, once the aim of SADA among others is to help bring some appreciable level of development in the SADA operational areas, there was the need to carefully consider and critically select a MORE USEFUL tree species (types) for the afforestation project. For instance, there are ECONOMIC SPECIES as well as NON-ECONOMIC SPECIES. Examples are mango (mangifera indica) species and acacia (Senna siamea) species respectively.

The point here is, SADA could have chosen mango species over acacia species considering the fact that mango is a typical economic tree whereas acacia can best be described as a woodlot. Assumming all or half of the 5 million seedlings were to be grafted or improved mango seedlings, could one imagine the benefits the beneficiary districts and the rest of the country would have gained from the SADA afforestation project? Again, the Shea tree (Butyrospermum parkii or Vitellaria paradoxa) is a major economic tree in the savanna zone just as cocoa in the forest zone. Couldn't SADA authority have invested some of the afforestation funds into the development and possible cultivation of the Shea crop more especially as sheanut is now becoming a hot commodity in the world market.

Better late than never. I think therefore, that, the directive by President John Dramani Mahama is very appropriate and laudable. The decision to involve experts from multi-institutional groups like UDS researchers, SARI/CSIR and ministry of lands and forestry to carry out feasibility studies leading to the implementation of the modules is commendable. The implementation must be done right this time round. #MYHUMBLEPIECE

Baba Musah,

Baba Musah
Baba Musah, © 2014

The author has 31 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: BabaMusah

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