Mr Nyadia Sulemana Nelson, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Forestry Commission, has admonished Ghanaians to cultivate the habit of tree planting to re-green the degraded landscapes and forest cover to mitigate challenges of climate change and improve agriculture productivity.
He observed that the country's forest and vegetation cover was fast depleting through human activities and other related events and the phenomenon was having a bearing on the environment and directly affecting food production.
“We are basically an agrarian economy particularly so in Northern Ghana, agriculture thrives on the viability of forest cover, so if there is no forest cover, there is no food, that is why the Green Ghana initiative is very important,” he said.
Speaking at Bolgatanga, Upper East Region, as part of activities marking the Green Ghana Day, Mr Nelson observed that Ghana had over the last 30 years lost huge vegetation cover to urbanisation, construction activities, fuel wood, and illegal mining among others.
Little, he said, had been done in the process to replace the lost trees and reverse the trend and there was the need to implement strategies to restore degraded forest reserves.
He said apart from the forest contributing to fighting climate change challenges, preserving wildlife and promoting eco-tourism, it was a source of food, nutrition and revenue, thereby improving the livelihoods of the vulnerable.
He, therefore, urged the youth to accept tree planting as good citizenship behaviour and contribute to good agriculture practices.
“It is people who are faithful who believe in the Lord that plant trees because if you plant a mango tree, you cannot tell whether you will live to eat from that mango tree, if you plant a mahogany tree, you cannot tell whether you will sit under the shade of that tree, so those who plant a tree are most faithful of people”, he added.
Mr Stephen Yakubu, Upper East Regional Minister, stated that fast approaching desertification from the Sahel region was a cause for worry and noted that the Green Ghana initiative was a viable strategy for fighting the phenomenon.
Mr Yakubu underscored the need for all stakeholders to collectively support the project to re-green the lost forest and degraded landscapes.
“The significance of rejuvenating the forest cover is wide and varied, ranging from economic, social, health and cultural considerations. In the era of high cost of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, the need to plant woodlots to serve as an alternative fuel cannot be underestimated,” he said.
Pe Ditundini Adiali Ayagitam III, President, Upper East RegionHouse of Chiefs, appealed to the government to empower the Traditional leaders to punish perpetrators of environmental destruction and added that the move would deter others from felling trees.
Pe Ayagitam who is also the Paramount Chief of the Chiana Traditional Area noted that all Traditional Councils in the region had been directed to make land available for the project and collect 5,000 seedlings each to encourage their subjects to plant the trees.
This year's commemoration on the theme, “mobilising for a greener future” has set a target of rallying Ghanaians to plant 20 million trees nationwide.
Out of this, the Upper East Region had been given a target of 650,000 trees to be planted.