Doryumu (E/R), July 28, GNA - The Ministry of Lands and Forestry has equipped the youth of Ayikuma and Doryumu in the Dangme West District with skills in bamboo and rattan processing and utilization to make them self employed.
The 16 trainees, who went through three months' of intensive craftsmanship from Mr Lawrence Ofori, the Instructor, who acquired the skills from China, were also taught basic entrepreneurial skills to enable them to establish their own businesses to enhance the earning capacity and livelihood of their community.
Professor Dominic Fobih, the Sector Minister, presenting certificates to the graduates at Doryumu on Wednesday, said Parliament adopted bamboo and rattan development as a national programme in 2002 to complement the President's Special Initiative (PSI) on Forest Plantation Development in Ghana.
He said the Ministry in collaboration with the Bamboo and Rattan Development Programme (BARADEP) was to promote bamboo and rattan plantation and industry development as a complement to the wood industry.
Professor Fobih said bamboo and rattan resources constitute the largest non-timber forest products in Ghana with a wide range of socio-economic and environmental benefits.
"The programme is to reduce the pressure on the natural forest for timber and increase income and employment opportunities for the rural poor", he said.
Ghana at independence had 8.7 million hectares of forest reserve but had now depleted to 1.8 million hectares.
Professor Fobih said bamboo and rattan that grew predominantly in the district could be substituted for wood products such as furniture, ceilings and doors.
He announced China had provided a 1.4 million dollars grant for the programme.
Professor Fobih said the tools which government provided for the training would be given to the community to be used as seed capital for the enterprise and urged the trainees to be committed to the work. Nene Adjartey Ngmlikiti, Acting Chief of Doryumu appealed to the Government to assist the people with a bulldozer to help clear more lands to cultivate more bamboo trees to sustain the newly created industry.
He said Doryumu with a population of more than 6,000 were mostly farmers, therefore, the programme would offer more job opportunities for the youth to curb the high rate of stealing, teenage pregnancy and the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Ms. Gifty Allotey, the Programme Administrator called for government's support for the programme especially the cultivation of longer bamboo roots to supplement those being used that could not sustain the programme within the next three years. Some bamboo products exhibited by the graduates included trays, handbags, flower and fruit baskets.
An appeal for funds yielded 2.5 million cedis.