Participants at the workshop
Dr. John Yaw Akparep, a lecturer of the School of Business and Law, University for Development Studies (UDS), has advocated a serious national campaign to fight the menace of illegal felling of trees which remains a major threat to the country’s forest cover.
He explained that such a campaign should be similar to the current fight against illegal mining (galamsey), which has yielded results.
According to Dr. Akparep, the alarming depletion of forest resources through unsustainable human activities such as illegal lumbering and logging, charcoal burning and bush burning required a national holistic approach.
The situation, he observed, posed a serious threat to agriculture and the socio-economic wellbeing of Ghanaians and generations unborn.
“Agriculture as well as the existence of forest products are largely dependent on the strength of our forests which has being fast depleting.
There is therefore the need to protect and conserve such cash crops and trees from destruction,” he said.
Dr. Akparep made the assertion at a stakeholders’ workshop held at Dumasua near Sunyani in the Brong-Ahafo Region.
The workshop was part of an advocacy supported by the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund to help the Ghana Association of Commercial Tree Growers and Cash Crops (GACTACC) to promote sustainable agroforestry as a tool to mitigate climate change.
It had the theme “Advocating for conservation of cash crops and trees against illegal lumbering for sustainable use.”
Dr. Akparep who is also a consultant for the project further called for the implementation of the Community Recourses Management Areas (CREMA) concept as an alternative means of conserving and sustaining the use of forest products – whether government vested or privately owned.
This, he explained, would empower members of forest communities to lead the fight against all illegal activities on forest lands by receiving governmental support to create their own bye-laws and enforce them.
He stressed the need for intensive public sensitisation for the public to appreciate the value of cash crops and trees for sustainable development.
The Vice Chairman of GACTACC, Nana Appiah Zakaria, attributed the destruction of the forest to lack of strict enforcement of existing laws.
He said over the years, most illegal chainsaw operators have been political actors and urged the government to exhibit ‘political will’ to tackle the menace without fear or favour.
From Daniel Dzirasah, Sunyani
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