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10.08.2005 Regional News

Educate youth on importance of the environment - Okyenhene


Tamale, August 10, GNA - The Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, has urged traditional rulers and parents to educate the youth on the importance of the environment in the development of the country and the sustenance of life.

"This will enable the youth to appreciate, value and protect the environment," he said.

Osagyefo Ofori Panin, who is also the Chairman of the Forest Plantation Development Fund Board (FPDFB), said the development of the country among other things, depended on agriculture and tourism but if the environment was not properly taken care of and managed, this goal could not be achieved.

He said: "The forest does not only supply medicinal plants for our health needs but most importantly, it is the life support system, which provides us with food, water and the air we breathe. Our very livelihood depends on the environment."

Osagyefo Ofori Panin said this when he presented items made up of shovels, wire mesh, wheel barrows, watering cans, cutlasses and Wellington boots valued at 150 million cedis to six communities engaged in tree plantations and woodlot development in the Northern Region in Tamale on Tuesday.

The six communities are: Kpagtori in the Bimbilla District, Gushiegu in the Gushiegu District, Moya in the Savelugu/Nanton District, Jugboi/Tempo in the Bole District, Tangubnini in the East Mamprusi Distict and Buipe in the Central Gonja District.

The Okyenhene who arrived in Tamale on Monday on his first visit to the North, would be making similar presentations to communities in the Upper East and Upper West Regions.

Osagyefo Ofori Panin urged chiefs to lead the crusade against the wanton destruction of the environment and the indiscriminate killing of animals, saying: "God created animals to be used for our benefit and not to exterminate them".

He noted that the destruction of the environment had lead to the erratic and uncertain rainfall pattern and the resurgence of diseases in the country, which "we thought to have been eradicated."

Mr. Edward Dzoboku, Northern Regional Zone Director of the Forestry Services Commission (FSC) said the serious environmental degradation facing the region called for a "multi-disciplinary approach and the deployment of appropriate technologies and strategies."

He said to combat the further degradation of the environment, the Forestry Commission had embarked on an intensive public education, the promotion of tree seedling production and the establishment of woodlots, as well as the promotion of fruit tree plantations.

He said apart from the existing plantations covering 4,742 hectares in the forest reserves, the Northern Savannah Zone had established another 4,200 hectares of which the Northern Region alone contributed 2,518 hectares, providing jobs for 850 people in 40 communities.

Mr. Dzoboku said under the Government Plantation Development Component of the HIPC Fund, another 215 hectares of the forest reserves had been established with teak and Eucalyptus trees, while 26,000 seedlings had been planted under the Urban Forestry aspect and employment offered to 650 people.

The Regional Zone Director appealed to the FPDFB for adequate appropriation to private developers in the North to undertake massive tree planting for non-timber forest products, which he said the area had comparative advantage.

He said funds should be provided not only for tree planting but also for logistics and infrastructural development, especially in the area of water provision. He also urged the board to support a wildfire project in the Northern Savannah Zone.