THE Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Alhaji Collins Dauda, has called on the various Municipal and District Assemblies (MDAs) to work in close collaboration with the Forest Service Division (FSD) to ensure the success of the National Forest Plantation Development Programme (NFPDP).
President John Evans Atta Mills launched the programme in the Ashanti Region in January this year.
Mr Dauda stated that the project was dear to the heart of the government and therefore gave the assurance that the government would provide the necessary logistics and incentives to motivate the workers engaged under the programme to deliver to expectation.
Alhaji Dauda said this when he visited the Asantekwaa reserve plantation site in the Kintampo Municipality in the Brong Ahafo Region as part of his two-day inspection tour of the various plantation sites and nursery centres in the region to access the progress of work.
Asantekwaa is the first plantation site in the region to have planted a total of 50 hectares with teak while the remaining sites are due to begin and end planting by the close of this month.
A total of 5,500 hectares, out of the 6,600 hectares earmarked in the region, has been prepared for planting while the same number of people have been engaged as workers.
Alhaji Dauda said he was impressed with the progress of work done so far in the region and commended the workers for embracing the project wholeheartedly.
He and expressed the hope that they would put in their best to help the nation restore its lost forest cover.
The minister stated that the change in climate and rainfall pattern in the country was due to the depletion of the country’s forest cover and that was why the government decided to embark on the programme to safeguard the environment.
Alhaji Dauda urged the workers to form fire volunteer squads to help protect the plantations from bush fires during the dry season, adding that the various communities living close to the forests must also help protect them.
He appealed to traditional rulers and land owners to release more land for the programme as they stood to benefit from an equal share of 50/50.
The minister added that the government would pay the workers engaged in the project as well as provide the tree seedlings for planting on the land till they matured.
Messrs William Baah and Walter Gyabaah, the Brong Ahafo Regional and Assistant Regional FSD Managers who accompanied the minister on the tour, said each municipality and district in the region would plant a total of 300 hectares each while each worker engaged under the project would also work on one hectare.
They said the tree species to be planted under the programme included Mahogany, Emire, Teak, Ceiba, Cedrialla and Wawa, while a greenbelt would also be established to protect the plantations from bush fires.