THE Tano South District Assembly in the Brong Ahafo Region has committed 10 per cent of its budget to fight illegal chainsaw operation which is on the increase in the various forest reserves, especially the Tintain Beposo forest reserve.
Part of the amount would also be used for the fight against the annual bushfire outbreaks that often occur during the dry season of every year, resulting in the destruction of the vegetative cover of the district, thereby affecting agricultural production in the area.
As a short-term measure to deal with the indiscriminate felling of trees in the various forest reserves, the District Security Committee (DISEC) with the assistance of the military, the Brong Ahafo Regional Co-ordinating Council (BARCC) and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, has launched a massive operation to prevent the forests from further depletion.
The Tano South District Chief Executive (DCE), Mr Bukari Zakari Anaba, made this known to the Daily Graphic at Bechem.
He called on the communities living around the forests and their assembly members to assist in protecting the forests from further destruction by providing information to the security agencies on the illegal activities.
According to him, if the activities of the illegal chainsaw operators were not check, they would lead to the further destruction of the forest reserves in the district.
Mr Anaba said the effect of the depletion of the forests had resulted in the change of the climatic conditions of the area, adding. “The area used to experience much rainfall even in the dry season that help in food production, but now, the whether pattern has changed as a result of these bad environmental practices.”
He stated that Techimantia and Dermaa in the district were reputed as some of the leading producers of tomatoes in the country but as a result of the lack of market, storage facilities and access roads to those towns, most of the tomatoes produced during the major season were left to rot, a situation that discouraged farmers and the youth from going into that venture.
Mr Anaba said as a measure of reducing the annual glut experienced by farmers in those communities, the assembly had decided to reshape and tar the road connecting the two towns to the marketing centres.
He added that the assembly would also commit 0.5 per cent and one per cent of its budget for the year to research into storage and irrigation sites to help address the situation and to encourage farmers, especially the youth, to go into tomato production.
The DCE stated that the assembly had been selected to be part of the Ministry of Manpower and Employment’s national programme for the elimination of the worst forms of child labour in cocoa-growing areas in the country.
In that regard, he said, a series of workshops had been organised to build the capacity of some officials of the assembly, traditional leaders and other stakeholders for the implementation of the programme in the district.
According to Mr Anaba, a District Child Protection Committee had been formed while 10 communities in the district had been selected for the pilot programme.
He said the assembly had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the ministry under which the assembly was to provide a counterpart funding of GH¢10,480.00 to support the project to ensure its sustainability while the ministry had already provided a computer and accessories, a motorbike, 10 bicycles and cash of GH¢3,200 towards the project.
Mr Anaba further stated that the assembly had earmarked for completion for this year, a HIPC-funded maternity block at the Bechem Government Hospital which had been abandoned, to help ease overcrowding at the maternity ward.
He said the hospital had no resident doctor and, therefore, the assembly had also decided to put up two three-bedroom bungalows to house a resident doctor.