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21.03.2005 Regional News

Don't farm in forest reserves- Forest Manager

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Techiman (B/A) March 21, GNA - Mr. Yaw Atuahene Nyarko, Offinso District Forest Manager at the weekend cautioned farmers operating inside Asubima Forest Reserve to quit in their own interest as they would not be spared by the law when caught.

He said the practice was illegal and explained that the farmers as well as investors were entitled to 40 per cent share of the products of the lands.

The Forestry Manager announced that within the five years development plan on forest management, it was expected that a minimum of 1000 hectares of land would be planted with tree species, especially teak by the Taungya farmers.

The Forestry Commission, the Taungya Group, traditional authorities and the communities would sign a 25-year agreement on the project, Mr. Nyarko said at a day's workshop at Techiman in Brong Ahafo on a draft integrated forest management plan for Asubin Forest Reserve.

About 50 farmers drawn from the communities of the forest reserve attended the workshop, organised by the Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mines and the African Development Bank and sponsored by the Forest Plantation Development Centre of the Forestry Commission.

It was aimed at encouraging the people to reforest the depleted parts of the forest with tree species, which could also serve as economic ventures for an improvement in their living standards. The participating communities of the Forestry Management Project include, Nyamesomyede, Asonkwaa, Akumadan Akwasinkumakrom, Tanoso, Gyabaakrom, Ebomso, Atabourso numbers one and two, Aworopataa and Woraso.

Mr. John Manu, Techiman Municipal Director of Agricultural Services, emphasized the need for farmers to preserve the forest lands, which play a major role in the agricultural sector. He called on the Taungya farmers to attach great importance to the management of the Asubima forest and preserve it for the benefit of the communities and posterity.

Mr. Patrick Anim, Deputy Offinso District Director of Agriculture, said the Ministry of Agriculture was to financially support the farmers to undertake projects such as livestock keeping, snail and mushroom production, piggery and bee keeping.

Nana Apenten Fosu Gyeabour, Baamuhene and Hansuahene of the Techiman Traditional Area stressed the need for the farmers to be vigilant and to monitor their activities to ensure that every farmer took good care of the tree seedlings planted.

Nana Owusu Gyare, Akwamuhene of Techiman traditional area who Presided, advised the farmers not to let their economic gains from the project cloud their sense of maintaining the forests. Meanwhile, tree species nursery sites have been established at Asonkwaa, Woraso and Gyabaakrom towards the cultivation of about 715,000 seedlings for the start of the project.

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