General News of 2014-04-15

SADA: GHc32m afforestation project go waste?

Joy News’ investigations have revealed that although the 32.4 million Ghana cedis allocated to Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) to implement the afforestation project has been spent, there is not much to show on the ground.

Joy News checks further reveal that the project has rather contributed to the depletion of the environment.

This is because, the natural vegetation cover had been destroyed to make way for the afforestation project, but the project has failed to yield any positive result.

Joy News’ Manasseh Azure Awuni spent weeks touring the project sites and reports that at Kpandai in the Northern Region, some people, who took part in the SADA tree planting project expressed disappointment at the outcome of the project.

They had not been paid for seven out of the sixteen months they worked on the project. But that’s not all. The trees they planted were dying before their eyes.

The story of SADA’s afforestation project was worse in other locations, he further observed.

At the site near Bawa Barracks in Tamale, about 70 of the trees had died at the time Joy News visited the site. At the Kamina Barracks afforestation site, not even a single tree planted had survived.

The situation in the Upper East Region is worse.

Upper East Regional Coordinator of ACI Construction, Raymond Agbontor, who took the Joy News team round the Winkogo Afforestation site in January this year, said the trees were withering because all the workers had been laid off.

SADA’S afforestation contract with ACI Construction expired in June 2013. Documents secured by Joy News indicated that the company wrote a letter requesting a renewal of the contract, but SADA declined.

As a result, ACI Construction wrote a letter to all personnel at the afforestation sites to vacate.

This has since left the trees at the mercy of the weather and animals. Another reason given by workers was the late planting of the trees. They say most of the trees were planted during the dry season.

But, immediate past CEO of SADA, Gilbert Seidu Iddi does not think the SADA afforestation project has failed. For him, whether the trees survived or not, were not the most important issue.

So far as he is concerned, the project had created employment and the trees had also been planted.