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07.07.2004 Regional News

84-billion spent on HIPC Plantation projects in Volta Region

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Jasikan, July 7, GNA - A total of 84-billion cedis has been spent on the HIPC Plantation Projects, started in 2003 in the Volta Region, under the President's Special Initiative (PSI) on Forestry. Professor Dominic Fobih, Minister of Lands and Forestry, who announced this on Tuesday, during a tour of forestry projects in the Region, said a total of 970,000 hectares of woodlot plantations have been planted under the projects, with about 300,000 hectares earmarked for this year. He said innovations to the "taugyan" system coupled with community management of woodlot plantation and the introduction of competitive bidding processes introduced by the Ministry had improved forest management.

Taugyan is a traditional system of preserving the forest. Prof. Fobih said the novelty was aimed at bringing forest and forestry related projects under the purview of community management to sustain the programme, create jobs and reduce poverty among the people. The Minister appealed to all stakeholders in the forestry and woodlot industry to harmonise their activities to derive optimum benefit from woodlot plantation and other forest resources.

Prof. Fobih said the Ministry would assist individuals and groups working in the forestry industry to ensure a sustainable forest management; conservation, protection and development. Mr John E. Otoo, Executive Director of the Forestry Commission, told the Ghana News Agency that the Commission allocates about 2.5 million cubic metres of lumber, both in the forest reserves and off reserve annually to saw mills operators.

Three hundred and twelve (312)trees were allocated to the Region, this year, to be used by 14 saw mills.

Mr James Ahiati, Manager of the Hope Alorbu's Mill at the Kadjebi in Kadjebi District said the Region's quota of 312 trees was woefully inadequate and adversely affecting the financial position of saw mill operators and pleaded for a review of the allocation.

He complained that the building and furniture industry in the Region continued to patronise the products of illegal chainsaw operators thereby affecting the sales of saw mills.

The Minister also visited , the Gad Furniture Works in Ho, HIPC Plantation projects at Worawora and Apesokubi in the Jasikan District and the Artificial Re-generation plantation in the Kabo and Odomi reserves in the Hohoe District being funded by the German Government funded Forest Resource Use Management Project.