The much-awaited ‘Green Ghana’ initiative by the government which seeks to transform and restore the country’s forestry sector comes off today (Friday) June, 11th 2021.
‘Green Ghana’ is a government initiative through the Ministry for Lands and Natural Resources that aims at planting five million trees in a single day across the country.
Speaking on the maiden project, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abdulai Jinapor has called on Ghanaians to rally behind government decision to plant some five million trees across the country.
According to him, as it stands now, the country lacks economic trees which can aid the sustainable development of the country, hence the need for all and sundry to participate in the agenda.
He noted that all necessary arrangements have been done to ensure that the country pull off a successful tree planting exercise today.
“We are very much prepared for the event as we are ready to plant some five million trees across the country in a way of investment for the future. We are talking about the Timber, Wawa, Nim, Rosewood, Shea trees,” he said.
He explained that the exercise would commence with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Vice President Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia, the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, and the Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin Yeboah, planting trees.
He called on individuals and organization to join agenda to plant trees to help the purpose of the exercise.
In addition, the Lands and Natural Resources Minister noted that his outfit will set up a monitoring and evaluation team to surveil the progress of the trees after the planting exercise.
“On a quarterly arrangement and eventually at the end of the year on the first anniversary of the 2021 Green Ghana Day, we will take stock as to how we have fared and there will be a comprehensive report delivered to Ghanaians as to how many of the trees survived and how many are at what stage of development etc.
“This is not going to be the usual thing. We plant the trees and walk away, we will plant the trees, nurse, nurture them and monitor in a very scientific way and methodical way to ensure that we see to the progress of these trees,” he said.
Earlier in June, 2021, President Akufo-Addo called on Ghanaians to plant more trees to preserve the country’s forest cover and the environment.
The President stressed that “We cannot sit by and watch as our trees, flora and fauna are wiped out. Our very existence is tied directly to the survival of trees. Without the oxygen produced by trees, we cannot survive as humans.
“Lend your support to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources as it executes this ambitious national assignment. I will be planting a tree and I expect you too to plant one. Let us make ‘Ghana Green’.
In a related development the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) is planting over 1.6 million forest trees in the 2020/2021 cocoa crop year on cocoa farms across the country and also as part of its National Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme.
COCOBOD is embarking on the rehabilitation programme to replace about 40% of the country’s cocoa tree stock which are either overaged or affected by the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD). The farms undergoing rehabilitation are being replanted with high yielding, early bearing and disease-tolerant hybrid seedlings developed by the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG).
For the 2020/2021 crop season, the Seed Production Division (SPD) of COCOBOD has produced 92 million seedlings for distribution to farmers across the country for planting. These are estimated to be planted on about 83,636.36 hectares of cocoa farms which include CSSVD treated farms, over-aged and moribund cocoa farms undergoing rehabilitation, filling of vacancies in existing young farms, among others.
It is for this reason that COCOBOD has made it mandatory for the planting of temporary shade crops and permanent shade trees on all farms before the cocoa seedlings are transplanted. While the temporary shade crops protect the young trees against the sun, thereby, facilitating high survival rates, the permanent trees, all of which are forest trees, provide shades and good temperature for the adult trees.
On average, about 20 economic trees are planted on every hectare of cocoa farm with 1,100 cocoa seedlings. In the same way that cocoa seedlings are nursed and supplied free of charge to farmers, these shade trees are also provided by COCOBOD free of charge for planting. Thus, with the estimated 83,636.36 hectares of cocoa farms being replanted for the 2020/2021 crop year, about 1,672.727 forest trees are being planted alongside the cocoa seedlings. This signifies the important role of the cocoa business in protecting our environment, ensuring a sustained green Ghana and promoting afforestation.
In a statement expressing support for the project, the Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Hon Joseph Boahen Aidoo, said “a Green Ghana is essential for the cocoa industry. This is why our farmers are taught how to practice agroforestry to protect our biodiversity because the cocoa tree itself is a forest tree and it grows in harmony with the rest of the vegetation. The cocoa trees are also a means for carbon sequestration which has become crucial in these times, as we experience changes in our climate. It is also the policy of the Board that no farmer in any part of the country enters a protected forest for cocoa farming.”
As we celebrate Green Ghana Day, let us all reflect on the benefits of the ecosystem and work towards its preservation.
There are an estimated 850,000 cocoa farmer households across the country. We urge our District officers, technical staff and community extension agents to encourage and mobilize them to take part in the exercise. If every farmer is able to plant at least 5 trees on the day and nurture them, cocoa farmers alone will be contributing about 4,250,000 trees to the Green Ghana Project, in addition to the more than 1.6 million being planted under the Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme. All other stakeholders on the cocoa value chain who may have the opportunity, are encouraged to plant a tree on the day and nurture it to maturity.
The Green Ghana Project is indeed a laudable initiative which needs the support of all.