Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources
Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources

Ms Barbara Serwaah Asamoah, the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, has appealed to forest scientists, researchers and managers to identify and develop strategies that would help to improve management of the nation?s forest resources.

Ms Barbara Serwaah Asamoah
Ms Barbara Serwaah Asamoah

She said in-spite of interventions undertaken over the years, deforestation and forest degradation had continued to be a major threat to sustainable forest governance in Ghana, hence the need for new strategies and ideas.
Ms Asamoah was opening the first national forestry conference at the Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG) at Fumesua, near Kumasi.
The three-day meeting is under the theme ?The contribution of forests to Ghana?s economic development?.
The Ministries of Lands and Natural Resources and Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), the Forestry Commission (FC), FORIG, Tropenbos International- Ghana (TI-G) and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) are the joint organizers.
It is meant to provide the platform to highlight the role of forests and woodlands on the livelihoods, environmental management and economic development.
The conference is also to commemorate 100 years of forestry practice and 50 years of forestry research in Ghana.
Ms Asamoah said her ministry had identified three broad areas, which required attention in addressing the challenges in the forestry sector.
These are securing and protecting the forest and wildlife resources, developing the resource base and maximizing revenue and other benefits flow from the resources.
She spoke of the need to strengthen law enforcement in the sector by building on existing arrangements to flush out illegal miners and chainsaw operations.
Additionally it is important to undertake research and come out with innovative approaches towards the implementation of the national forest plantation development programme, while promoting biodiversity conservation, ecotourism development and promotion of watershed management to increase revenue and other benefits from forest resources.
Ms Asamoah told the forest managers to explore avenues to secure sustainable financing for the forest and wildlife management.
Dr Alfred Tia Sugri, Deputy Minister of MESTI, said without an injection of scientific and technological innovations into development programmes, achieving a middle-income status and efforts to fight poverty would struggle.
Mr Samuel Afari Darteh, Chief Executive of FC, in a presentation on 100 years of forestry in Ghana, said non-involvement of key stakeholders in forest policy direction, poor revenue collection and disbursement, and the lack of proper and clear direction on forest plantation development had been the main challenges of the sector.
He called for the involvement of all stakeholders in the management of forest resources, deeper national understanding of forest assets and sustained awareness creation to help protect the forest.
Dr Victor Agyeman, Director of FORIG, spoke on 50 years of forest research, and said about 35 lesser known tree species had been tested and promoted for use.
He called for massive investment in research and development combined with clear policy direction to support research.
Dr Alhassan Salifu, Director-General of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), said the conference was being held at a time where forestry was bedeviled with problems gave the assurance that everything would be done to ensure that its outcomes were implemented.

GNA

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