Kumasi, April 17, GNA - The Ghana Chamber of Mines has initiated discussions with the Bamboo and Rattan Development Programme (BARADEP) to introduce bamboo cultivation and usage as part of the industry's Alternative Livelihood Projects for mining communities.
Miss Joyce Aryee, Chief Executive of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, who announced this in Kumasi, said BARADEP's objectives fell directly within the Chamber's Alternative Livelihood and Sustainable Mining Agenda, which sought to provide alternative employment and income for the unemployed youth as well as adults in the mining areas. Speaking at a Networking Dinner organised by the Chamber for the media in Kumasi on Friday, she said the initiative would also help to wean the youth from engaging in illegal mining with its attendant negative health and environmental impacts.
Miss Aryee said bamboo was one of Ghana's largest non-timber forest products and had a wide range of socio-economic and environmental benefits with a gestation period of five years, which presented a major avenue for improved and sustainable agro-forestry economic activity. She said what was more, bamboo was suitable for the rehabilitation of disturbed areas and could be used to provide forest cover and reduce erosion and could also be planted around water bodies to protect the rivers and streams from excessive evaporation.
In this collaborative effort, the Chamber was willing to assist in the training and resourcing of the mining communities to undertake ventures identified by BARADEP.
Miss Aryee said the Chamber had also commenced discussions with the Ghana Wildlife Society about a possible collaboration between the two bodies.
She said this interaction was part of a larger effort by the chamber to collaborate with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to support bio-diversity programmes in such conservation areas as Ankassa, Kakum, Shai Hills, Kintampo Water Falls and Monkey Sanctuaries and the Mole National Park.
This year the Chamber, she said, would donate 27,000 local and indigenous economic tree species to the Forestry Services Division to help improve upon the forest cover of the country under the President's Special Initiative on Reforestation.
She said the Chamber in the past years had contributed over 20,000 seedlings towards the Presidential Initiative on Forestry. "As an industry, we are committed to providing support for the reforestation of degraded forests, in addition to reclaiming mined-out areas and in addition, Miss Aryee said the chamber had begun discussion to provide logistical and other support to help in the Ministry of Lands and Forestry's nationwide anti-bushfire campaign. She said the chamber believed in responsible sustainable and innovative community relations and therefore aimed at enhancing economic prosperity, environmental sustainability and social well being for all stakeholders.
Last year therefore, she said, the mining industry spent over 10 million dollars in community development and alternative livelihood activities.