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Sokode-Gbogame, Feb 10, GNA - The Forestry Commission on Thursday handed over 1,364- hectare Abutia Plains Reforestation Project to a community management committee after a five-year integrated forest generation effort. The Japanese and Dutch governments, through the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) with about 10 per cent counterpart funding the Ghana Government, funded the 576,000 dollars' project. The African Environmental Forest Regeneration Movement (AFERM), a local non-governmental organisation, implemented the project.
Under the project vast areas of the denuded plains below mountain ranges in Abutia-Teti and Abutia-Kpota in the Ho District were planted with teak, acacia and other timber species and the community members trained on the sustainable use of forest resources. Mr Buatsi Aidoo, the Project Coordinator, said before planting commenced in 2000, the forest cover was virtually depleted and left with "only wild rats".
He said the Project Implementation Committee would have to devise ways to immediately plant the remaining 200 hectares of land and also re-plant those areas where the trees had failed to grow. Mr Winfred Kofi Bimah, Volta Regional Forestry Officer, said the self-management committee should be transparent and accountable to the community. He asked members of the community to guard against the illegal logging of trees and bush fires. Mr Cudjoe Awudi, an Economist of the Forestry Commission, said the project was in line with the National Forest Plantation Development Programme (NFPDP) launched by President John Agyekum Kufuor at Ayigbe Town, near Sunyani in 2001.
He said the commission would seek funding for the establishment of agro-based industries in the community when the trees mature.