Accra, June 14, GNA - Deputy Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines, Mr Andrews Adjei-Yeboah, on Tuesday said one of the goals of the Wildlife Division was to develop the potentials of the Kalakpa Resource Reserve in the Volta Region into an eco-tourism site to generate revenue for the benefit of all stakeholders. He said two constraints, the presence of settlers and migrants in the protected areas and the issue of payment of compensation to the original owners of the land, were hindering the development of the reserve.
The Deputy Minister was responding to a question in Parliament on the Ministry's programme for the development of the Kalakpa Games Reserve in the Abutia and Adaklu Traditional Areas. Mr Adjei-Yeboah said the reserve was "probably the only representative of the last relic of guinea-savannah in South-Eastern Ghana and, therefore, the only place in the Volta Region where indigenous wildlife associated with the vegetation type can be found." He said the presence of settlers in the protected areas had led these residents cultivating large tracts of land every year and thereby degrading the environment.
"The sad aspect of this issue is that the original landowners, who appreciated the value of the reserve have left the protected areas, leaving behind the settlers and migrants. "The Volta Regional Coordinating Council, the Ho Municipal Assembly and various traditional leaders and elders have tried in vain to convince the settlers and migrants to accept relocation outside the protected area." The Deputy Minister said should the settlers agree to move out of the protected area, the issue of payment of compensation to the original landowners would be another problem to deal with.
"Compensations paid for land, buildings and crops in 1997 amounted to 1,972,058.57 million cedis out of an assessed value of 3,228,440.00 million cedis." "The outstanding compensation of 1.3 million cedis would be negotiated and settled as soon as the settlers depart for development to commence. He said it was expected that the resettlement of the settlers would be resolved promptly and amicably by all stakeholders.