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11.02.2004 Regional News

Wildfires could wreck PSI on plantation development

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Kumasi, Feb 10, GNA- Mr Ebenezer Djagbletey, Assistant Regional Manager of the Forest Services Division (FSD) of the Forestry Commission, has cautioned that if care is not taken, the incidence of wildfires could wreck the Presidential Special Initiatives (PSI) on plantation development which targets the planting of 20,000 hectares of destroyed forests every year.

He therefore, called on the people particularly farmers, hunters and palm wine tappers to remain on the alert and avoid starting bushfires.

Mr Djagbletey was speaking at an anti-wildfire campaign mounted at the Kejetia lorry terminal as part of the Project's activities in Kumasi on Tuesday.

He noted that the sustainable management of the country's forest resources was very much dependent on "how well effective and successful we are able to control wildfires".

"It is important that as a people we begin to appreciate the enormous harm done to the economy by the annual recurrence of bushfires".

Mr Djagbletey announced that a total of 800 fire volunteers have so far been trained in three Ashanti forest districts under a 10 million-dollar Ghana-Netherlands Wildfire Management Project which aims at implementing effective methods to protect the forests in the country's transitional zone.

He gave the names of these districts as Offinso, Kumawu and Juaso. He said apart from the training of fire volunteers, wildfire clubs are also being formed in basic and second cycle schools in the Project's pilot areas of Ashanti, Eastern and Brong-Ahafo.

Mr Edward Obiaw, Manager, Environmental Conservation Unit, Resource Management Support Centre (RMSC) of the Forestry Commission, told the people to be always reminded by the devastation caused to the nation by wildfires in 1983.

He said until the rains set in, it would be dangerous for farmers to disregard bushfire warnings.

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