ITTO rates Ghana's reforestation as number one in the world
The International Tropical Timber Organisation has rated the Ghana Forestry Commission-sponsored reforestation project at the Abutia Plains in the Volta Region as number one among 33 other projects worldwide.
The project, which the African Environmental Regeneration Movement (AFERM), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), was undertaking, was rated number one in terms of its productivity and rehabilitation of a degraded land.
The land was used by the defunct State Farms Corporation to cultivate tobacco and this led to its degradation.
Mr Daniel Fianu-Dezor, Executive Secretary, AFERM, said this on Tuesday when he conducted the GNA and officials of the Forestry Commission round the project area that covered about 4,761 hectares and costs 700,000 dollars.
So far 1,372 hectares of the land had been put under timber cultivation with species such as Teak, Mahogany, Ebony, Wawa, Odum, Ofram, Cedrella and Teminallia.
Fruit bearing trees, oil palm, coconut, medicinal and ornamental plants and nutmeg had been added to give the project a natural forest setting.
Mr Fianu-Dezor said the purpose for engaging in agro-forestry along side the eforestation project was to ensure that "over concentration was not put on timber at the expense of other wild life that needed to procreate within a forest setting.
A variety of seedlings were being nurtured for re-planting as well as for supply to the Forestry Commission for its reforestation projects throughout the country.
He spoke about lack of adequate rainfall at Abutia over the last two years and said this led to the destruction of some of the seedlings.
''At times water tankers were brought from Ho, a distance of about 20 kilometres, to water the seedlings'' and said four dams would be constructed to provide water for the seedlings.
Mr Fianu-Dezor said a small dam was built but was later converted into a fishpond to serve the nutritional needs of the workers.
The project has 63 permanent staff with about 150 casual workers.
Mr Fianu- Dezor said grass cutters; antelopes, duikers, tortoise, monkeys and snails rearing had been added to the project.
He said to protect the project during the dry season fire belts had been created at the boundaries of the project.
Forest patrol teams have been set up and would sound the alarm at the outbreak of any fire during the night.
Togbe Botchway Ayipe VI, chief of Abutia Kloe, praised the project and said it would be beneficial to the community.
He said with the coming of the project the youth were no longer rushing to the urban centre for non-existent jobs.
"They get employment on the project as well as encouragement to farm in between the trees as done in the Taungya system- a system of cultivating food crops on a plantation by peasant farmers.
"Those who work on the farm have also been provided with bicycles under an agreement with their employers enabling them to have a means of transportation," he said
Mr Sam Akrofi, Public Relations Officer of the Commission, urged the workers to continue their hard work to ensure the success of the project that could be renewed after three years depending on its success rate