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08.05.2005 Regional News

Timber contractors must provide amenities for communities - FC manager

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Abeadze Dominase (C/R), May 8, GNA - Mr Richard Gyesi-Amoako, Manager of the Winneba District of the Forestry Commission has suggested to chiefs to enter into agreement with timber contractors operating in their areas to make them to provide some social amenities for the communities in exchange of the trees they fell. Mr Gyesi-Amoako said when that was done many people would benefit from the royalties instead of the money going into the pockets of some few individuals.

He made the suggestion at a workshop for chiefs, queen mothers and heads of some clans in the Abeadze Traditional Area at Dominase in the Central Region, on Friday. The workshop, which was to sensitise the participants on the need to protect forests, especially sacred grooves known in Akan as Nsamanpow, was organised by Global Habitat for Homeless (GHAF) a non-governmental organisation (NGO) and sponsored by Global Environmental Facility and the Small Grant Project of the United National Development Programme (UNDP).

Mr Gyesi-Amoako appealed to chiefs to form committees to help check illegal felling of trees, adding that protection of the forest cover should not be regarded as the responsibility of forest guards alone.

Mrs Doris Osahene Amankwa, Forest Range Supervisor said activities of some chiefs who have been condoning and conniving with chain-saw operators were thwarting the efforts of the officials of the Forest Commission and appealed to them to desist from the habit. Daasebre Kweebu Ewusie VII, the Paramount Chief of the traditional area appealed to the Commission to serve chiefs with copies of permits to fell trees in their areas to enable the chiefs to monitor activities of the people.

The Paramount Chief said at times people fell more trees than what was covered by the permit.

In a message delivered on his behalf, Mr Robert Quainoo-Arthur, Mfantseman District Chief Executive urged chiefs to advise their people to take advantage of government interventions for re-forestation and woodlot farming not only to protect the environment but also to enhance their financial status.

The DCE said Ewoyaa, Ekurabadze, Suprodo and Obidan communities had established woodlots with funds provided by the Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mines.

Mr J.B. Abandoh, Executive Director of GHAF said the organisation had embarked on biodiversity projects in seven communities in the Central Region namely Eshirow, Kwesi Ansah, Ebiram, Nkonponkwaa, Essuehyia, Twaa and Enyan Aworodo. He expressed gratitude to the UNDP and the two organisations for sponsoring the workshop.

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