The Forestry Commission, through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, will today, Friday, June 11, 2021, commence a nationwide tree-planting campaign, to plant five million trees to restore depleted forest cover.
The Ministry has already distributed more than five million seedlings, including economic trees like Wawa, Mango, Rosewood and Shea to the districts and regional offices of the Forestry Commission and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies in readiness for the Day.
‘Green Ghana Day’ falls under the Green Ghana Project, expected to be fully implemented in the next five years.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will plant a commemorative tree at the precincts of the Jubilee House, the seat of government, at 1300 hours today to mark the event.
Other high-profile personalities who have stated their readiness to join the campaign to plant trees in their respective communities and mobilise people to plant trees include; the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and the King of Dagbon, Yaa-Naa Abubakar II.
The Forestry Commission has marked out sites for tree planting on the Day, including; backyards, school compounds, residence and 100 metres away from roads.
However, all degraded mined out areas polluted with heavy metals such as Mercury and Cyanide are excluded from the exercise until a National Reclamation Programme reclaims the polluted lands.
At a media briefing in Accra to update the public on preparations made for the exercise, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, the sector minister, said the Forestry Commission had produced six million seedlings and distributed them to the 16 regions.
He said, for instance, the Greater Accra Region had received 450,000 seedlings, Central Region-400, 000, Western Region-250,000, Western North-420,000, and Ashanti Region-one million seedlings.
The rest are: Ahafo-170,000, Bono-250,000, Bono East-300,000, Eastern-750,000, Volta-200,000, Oti-150,000, Northern-250,000, North East-120,000, Savannah-250,000, Upper East-170,000, and Upper West-150,000.
The Minister said the Ministry, through the Forestry Commission, was determined to restore the depleted forest cover, ravaged by negative human activities such as illegal mining and lumbering.
Currently, the country’s forest cover stood at 1.6 million hectares from 8.2 million hectares witnessed in the 1900s.
The Minister called for collective action by political parties, faith-based organizations, corporate bodies, schools, the media, diplomatic missions and all well-meaning Ghanaians to join forces to plant five million trees today.
The action, he said, would help “Green Ghana” and preserve the ecosystem to aid the fight against the negative effects of climate change.
Mr Abu Jinapor, the Member of Parliament for Damongo, announced that a Monitoring and Evaluation team had been constituted and would report quarterly and annually on how the trees were faring and gave the assurance that the public would be informed in due course.
“This is a well-thought project and an Action Plan has been developed to restore the country’s forest cover and is going to be a short to medium-term programme, which would be implemented fully in the next four to five years.
“So, the Green Ghana Project is national in character and aimed at awakening national consciousness for everyone to plant a tree at his/her backyards, open spaces, school compounds, 100 metres from a road, among other places, and should be a collective effort by all,” the Minister emphasised.
Mr Jinapor lauded the enthusiasm shown so far by the Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Service under the ‘One-Student, One-Tree’ initiative to plant five million trees on the day.
He also commended faith-based organisations including; the Church of Pentecost, Presbyterian Church- Ghana, the Apostolic Church, the Catholic Church and other corporate entities for promising to lead their members to plant trees on the day.
He said the five million trees targeted this year would be scaled up to 20 million next year, 50 million in 2023 and 100 million in 2024.
“And so, plant a tree, take a picture of it and post it on Facebook and other social media platforms,” Mr Abu Jinapor urged.
He asked other corporate entities to support the laudable initiative with logistics such as shovels, watering cans and other equipment for a successful programme.
On nurturing the trees to maturity, Mr Abu Jinapor indicated that Forestry Commission would provide guidelines for planting the seedlings and take care of the young trees in the forest reserves, while the brigade corps under the Youth in Afforestation would cater for the trees in the urban areas.
“This is a single most ambitious programme. This is a Ghana Project and so let us all join and make a big statement on the day and ensure the survival and sustenance of our forest and environment.
“This is a ‘Ghana Enterprise’ and we should own it because it’s the only way we can sustain it,” he stated.