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28.12.2004 Regional News

Chiefs urged to educate subjects on forestry policy

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Akim-Abomosu (E/R), Dec. 28, GNA - Chiefs have been urged to use durbars and other cultural events to educate their people on forestry polices to help check the high rate of deforestation and protect the forest reserves.

They have also been advised to monitor the observance of forestry policies in their traditional areas, including the activities of the Forestry Protection Task Forces and Community Forest Committees. The Deputy Kwahu South Manager of the Forestry Service Commission (FSC), Mr Ahmed Nsiah-Bempah made the call at a one-day training workshop for members of the Asukawkaw Forestry Reserve Planning Team at Akim-Abomosu on Monday.

Speaking on the topic, "The Role of Chiefs in Forestry Management", he said, as major stakeholders in the forestry sector, they should support the government's afforestation programme to generate the requisite revenue to finance development projects in the communities. The 35 participants included chiefs and assembly members drawn from Abomosu, Asunafo, Ntronang, Subrisu, Amanfrom, Aworonsua and Akadewaso.

Mr Nsia-Bempah advised them to co-operate with the staff of the FSC to conserve, manage and develop the forestry resources as well as monitor the condition and extent of the utilization of the resources. He said it was the responsibility of the FSC to draw up a plan and manage the implementation of all Timber Utilisation Contracts (TUC), collect fees for timber and other forestry products harvested and the disbursement of revenue from both reserve and off reserves to the district assembly, the traditional councils and stool land owners.

The Kwahu South District Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Mr John Nketia Gyemfie said human activities were the major cause of the degradation of the forest reserves and urged the committee members to educate the people to adopt improved methods of farming to preserve them.

He advised them to avoid shifting cultivation, burning of their farms and setting bush fires, rather to adopt agro-forestry, use of weedicides and organic manure to increase their yields and maintain soil fertility.

The chief of Asunafo, Barima Atipa Ntim II, who commended the FSC for organizing the workshop, however, expressed concern about the delays in the disbursement and payment of royalty to the stakeholders and the gradual takeover of the powers of chiefs over forestry resources by the FSC.

The Kwahu South District Manager of the FSC, Mr Joseph Osei advised the committee members to take the workshop seriously to ensure effective planning and management of the forest reserve. Dec. 28, 04

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