Ghana made its plans for forest plantation rejuvenation here on Tuesday, putting together an innovative Forest Plantation Investment Forum (FPIF).

forestThe 15-member body is made up of representatives of state and non-state actors in the forestry sector from both local and international organizations.

Inaugurating the forum to commemorate International Day of The Forest 2017, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, urged the 15-member body to do all they could to ensure that the Forestry Commission is well resourced to carry out its intended mandate.

“Following the launch of the ‘Forest and Wildlife policy of 2012’ and the subsequent launch of the ‘Ghana Forest Plantation Strategy: 2016 to 2040′ in November 2016, it has become imperative to take concrete steps to actualize the intended actions specified in these strategic documents to ensure the achievements of goals and targets,” he explained.

He urged members of the FPIF to keep to their mandate of creating a win-win situation for all stakeholders and the country.

“The FPIF has been charged with two key aims: promote the interests of investors and lead the advocacy effort to create an enabling environment for investments in forest plantations by influencing legal, policy and administrative reforms that will facilitate the achievement of the stated objectives.”

The day also coincided with the United Nations’ International Day of the Forest, with the CEO lamenting the continued degradation of Ghana’s forest cover.

“In spite of the many benefits derived from the forest, the forest and wildlife resources of Ghana continue to face serious threats of degradation due to factors such as illegal logging, illegal mining, unsustainable farming practices, rampant wildfires, poaching, charcoal burning, and collection of fuel wood in commercial quantities, among others,” Owusu Afriyie noted.

These activities, he added, resulted in severe climate change patterns, including the drying up of water bodies, depletion of prime timber species such as Odum, mahogany, asafina, and sapele, as well as the destruction of wildlife habitats, loss of soil fertility and low agricultural productivity.

Government and its partners, the CEO said, had embarked upon major interventions such as legislative reforms, law enforcement, restoration of degraded landscapes through the National Forestry Planning Development Program, promotion of woodlot establishment, and sustainable use of land and water resources, among others, to reverse the trend.

Chairman of the Forum, Prof. Dan Ofori of the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS) told Xinhua later in an interview why such a forum is needed.

“It is a fact that government alone cannot do it, and if government cannot do it, then which other stakeholders can? Mainly, it is private sector-led, it’s donor-led and NGO-led so this forum enables us to bring all of these people to come together and we can get some important investment into the sector, to grow our forests and plant trees.”

“As we said, once our forests are vibrant, we are creating jobs, we are creating sources of funding for the government to be able to do all manner of activities and then it helps everybody,” Ofori stated. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh