09.03.2005 General News

Stakeholders in forestry sector urged to invest in ICT

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Accra, March 9, GNA - Mr. John Otoo, Executive Director of the Forest Services Division of the Forestry Commission, on Wednesday stressed the need for stakeholders in the sector to invest in Information and Communication Technology to ensure sustainable management of the country's forest resources.

He said under the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade initiative both buyers and policy makers in major wood markets worldwide were required to fashion out new regulations that bordered on reliable and timely reporting of forest operations, processing and trade information.

This information would have to be audited by independent and trusted third parties.

"This implies that, not only will regulatory authorities have to keep up with the demands of the use of modern technology in delivering service but the private sector which wants to survive under this new trade regime will have to start looking seriously at how they manage their operations with reliable ICT technology," he said. Mr. Otoo was speaking at a day's seminar organised by the Forestry Commission at the Sixth Industry and Technology Exhibition under way in Accra. The Exhibition, which is on the theme: "Transforming Ghana's Industrial Sector Through Information and Communication Technology," is being organised by the Association of Ghana Industries.

Mr Otoo said while in the past the extent and dynamics of growth of forest resources had to be determined through manual means, technology through remote sensing applications coupled with computing and communicating technology, this task could now be reliably performed with high level of accuracy in a relatively short time.

He said the efficacy of the management of the process of quantifying forest stocking levels, tracking changes due to growth, mortality harvesting and associated issues would, to a large extent determine how the forest was kept on a sustainable basis.

It is in this connection that the Forestry Commission has deployed web-enabled technology to assist the sector in improving its responsibility to the public through information dissemination. In an address read for him, the Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines, Professor Dominic Fobih said the Ministry was extending the application of ICT to fire management and control in forest and wildlife protected areas in the country for quick response to risk relating to fire outbreaks.

He asked the Commission to maintain a solid technical base in ICT for sustainable forest and wildlife resource conservation in line with the goal of poverty reduction and socio-economic development.

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