deforestation-

A campaigner and Forest Advocate has called on Ghana to have a paradigm-shift in its forest management in order to have sustainable use of forests and forest resources in the country.

Speaking to Xinhua on Friday after a day’s workshop organized by Friends of the Earth Ghana on Tree Tenure and Benefit Sharing In Ghana, Obed Owusu-Addai of Eco-Care a forest advocacy activist think-tank noted that one of the ways Ghana’s forest reserves got depleted was through wrong farming practices.

“Agriculture is causing a lot of forest loss, and in Ghana it is estimated to be about 50 percent of all forest losses. Deforestation is happening at a 2.3 percent rate annually in the country and cocoa and other farming forms contribute 50 percent of this,” he pointed out.

The activist blamed wrong scientific approach which made Ghanaian farmers abandon the tree (shade) loving cocoa trees for sun-loving cocoa cultivation for the massive forest loss.

“But now there is a new science that is saying you can get more benefits from your land by inter-planting your cocoa with trees with at least 18 trees on a hectare of cocoa farm,” he added.

Owusu-Addai therefore urged the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) to carry out sensitization for farmers to switch to this new variety of cocoa which will ensure that Ghana made a lot of gains from cocoa, while it also protected its forests and protect the country from the vagaries of Climate Change.

In addition to the adoption of the right agronomy practices, Nehemiah Odjer-Bio, the Project Coordinator of Friends of the Earth – Ghana urged that the process of tree tenure and benefit sharing should also be used as an incentive to make farmers voluntarily protect trees on their farms.

Currently Forestry Commission charges a 50 percent service fee on each tree felled outside forest reserves for lumber purposes. Odjer-Bio said part of this service fee should be shared with farmers who nurtured the trees on their farms to reach maturity.

“If farmers are incentivized to protect the trees on farm it means we have a number of trees to actually take away the carbon in the atmosphere. This will be able to solve the Climate Change problem we have,” he added. Enditem

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