By Samuel Duodu, Bechem
The Tano South District Assembly with its district capital at Bechem in the Brong Ahafo Region has committed 10 per cent out of its budget for this year, to fight illegal chainsaw operation that is on the increase in the various forest reserves, especially the Tintain Beposo forest reserve in the district.
Part of the amount would also be used to fight against the annual bushfire outbreaks that often occur during the dry season every year, which also destroyed 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 Coordinating Council (BARCC) and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, have launched a massive operation to prevent the forests from further depletion and destruction.
Mr Bukari Zakari Anaba, the Tano South District Chief Executive (DCE) who disclosed this in an interview with Graphic Nsempa at Bechem, therefore, called on the communities living around the forest and their assembly members, to assist in protecting the forests from further destruction, by providing informing to the security agencies on those illegal activities.
According to him, the activities of the illegal chainsaw operators if not checked would lead to further destruction of the forest reserves in the district and that “the area experiences a lot of rain fall even in the dry season, but now the whether pattern has changed as a result of these bad environmental practices”.
He disclosed that Techimentia and Dermaa in the district were reputed to be the leading producers of tomatoes in the country, but as a result of lack of markets, storage facilities and access roads to these towns, most of the tomatoes produced during the major season were left to rot thereby discouraging farmers and the youth from going into its production.
Mr Anaba said as a measure to reduce the annual glut experienced by farmers in these areas, the assembly had decided to reshape and tar the road connecting the two towns to the marketing centers and had also committed 0.5 per cent and 1 per cent of the assembly’s budget for the year, for research into storage and irrigation sites respectively, to help address the situation so as to encourage farmers to produce more as well as the youth to go into its production.
He stated that the assembly had also 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.
As a result a series of workshops have been organised to build the capacity of some officials of the assembly, traditional leaders and other stakeholders towards the implementation of the programme in the district, and added that a District Child Protection Committee had been formed, while 10 communities in the district have been selected for the pilot programme.
He said the assembly had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the ministry, and that the assembly was to provide a counterpart funding of Gh¢10,480 to support the project to ensure its sustainability while the ministry had already given a computer and its accessories, a motorbike, ten bicycles and GH¢3,200 for the project.
Mr Anaba disclosed further that the assembly had earmarked for completion for this year a HIPC maternity block at the Bechem Government Hospital that had been abandoned to help ease the overcrowding at the maternity ward, where some of the mothers sleep on the bare floor and also support the education on HIV/AIDS in the district.
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 to attend to emergencies.