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17.03.2006 Regional News

Ministry spends about 167 billion cedis on afforestation programme

By GNA

Assin Fosu(C/R), March 17, GNA - The Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mines has within the past three years spent about 167 billion cedis on the Government's Plantation Development programme. The programme, being sponsored through HIPC funds, has three components, replanting of degraded forest reserves, off-forest reserves and urban forests for 24,075 hectares nationwide.

Nana Osei Barimah, National Coordinator of the programme, disclosed this on Thursday at Assin-Fosu, during an inspection and handing over of 100 hectares of planted urban forests to the Assin North and South district assemblies at Assin Fosu and Nsuaem Kyekyewere. He said within the period, 13,229 people were employed under programme as farm hands for the planting and maintenance of the trees. Nana Barimah, said under urban forestry, 50 hectares along avenues and roads were planted with trees such as acacia in each district to either serve as wind breaks, shade or to beautify the area. He however, said the Ministry was handing over the management of the urban forestry component of the programme to the Forestry Commission and the district assemblies to ensure effective supervision and monitoring since they were located within their districts. The Coordinator said, the main objective of the afforestation programme was to recover degraded forest reserves, create jobs and alleviate poverty among rural dwellers.

Mr Frank Kwamina Aidoo, Personal Assistant to the Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines, commended the two districts for contributing their quota towards implementation of the programme, that had improved forestry in urban centres. He called on chiefs, opinion leaders, and assembly members to encourage more people to participate in the programme and also ensured its success by regularly monitoring and supervising those who maintained the trees. Mr Aidoo called for effective coordination from the district assemblies and urged them to expand the programme to other communities within the districts. He gave the assurance that the Ministry would continue to support the assemblies with the needed logistics, such as seedlings and technical support free of charge. The team also inspected replanting at the Supon, Baako and Wawahen Twifo-Praso degraded forest reserves.

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