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Ghana restores 728,608 hectare-degraded lands within seven years – Owusu Bio

A total of 728,608 hectares of degraded lands in Ghana have been restored since 2017.

Out of these 132,262 hectares were done through forest plantation development, enrichment planting covered an area of 25,342 hectares, while planting of trees within farms constituted 571,005 hectares.

Mr Benito Owusu Bio, the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, responsible for Lands and Forestry, who made this known, said Ghana had since 2017 experienced the greatest investments by the Government and the private sector in forest restoration activities, generating several benefits.

These benefits include job creation, improvement of rural livelihoods, enhanced food security, protection of watersheds and support to national and global efforts aimed at addressing climate change.

Mr Owusu Bio was speaking at the commissioning of Star Agro Forestry’s Teak Tissue Culture Laboratory at Amangoase in the Atwima Mponua District of the Ashanti Region.

He said the Government’s reforestation programme within the framew
ork of the Ghana Forest Plantation Strategy and the most recent initiative, the Green Ghana Project, launched in 2021, had engendered enormous interest from Ghanaians and non-Ghanaian residents in Ghana.

So far, over 40 million tree seedlings of various species have been planted across the nation during the first three editions of the Green Ghana Day.

Mr Owusu Bio, stressing on the significance of the tissue culture laboratory, said Star Agro Forestry Limited was one of the beneficiary private sector companies, which had been allocated degraded forest reserve land to undertake commercial forest plantation development.

The company had been allocated over 1,500 hectares of the land in the Offin Shelterbelt Forest Reserve in the Nkawie Forest District to undertake commercial forest plantation.

The Tissue Culture Laboratory, developed by the company would, therefore, ensure it was able to produce high-quality genetically superior tree seedlings for their planting activities and meet the requests of other deve
lopers who required these seedlings.

The Deputy Minister said he had been briefed that the seedlings to be produced from the facility would significantly reduce the period required for planting timber species in Ghana to reach full maturity for commercial harvesting.

This development, he believed, would dismiss the long-held notion ‘that it takes a very long time for returns to be realized from investments in forest plantation establishment.”

”This indeed, is good news for all prospective investors in commercial forest plantation development in Ghana and I believe this Laboratory will be a game-changer in stimulating private sector investments in the sector,’ he stated.

Mr John Allotey, the Chief Executive, Forestry Commission, said the tree seedlings to be produced from the tissue culture laboratory at Nsoatre and other modern tree nurseries across the country would ensure the availability of adequate high-quality young plants of superior genetic grade to meet aggressive and robust national afforestati
on and reforestation targets.

He pledged the Commission’s readiness to provide the necessary support to ensure that the facility operated optimally to support forest plantation development in the country.

Mr Sanjay Poddar, the Managing Director of Star Agro Forestry Limited, said the company aimed to introduce tissue culture technology to Ghana’s agricultural landscape, specifically focusing on teak wood, eucalyptus, sandalwood, and bamboo among others.

He said while Ghana had relied on traditional planting methods for decades, the western world had surged ahead with phenomenal successes through the adoption of tissue culture.

Source: Ghana News Agency