Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Forest Commission official lauds new system

Mr. Michael Kofi Benni, Sunyani Area Manager of the Forestry Commission, has lauded the modified taungya system as a successful government intervention. The system allows degraded forest reserves to be reforested with selected tree species, inter-cropped with food crops and involves active farmer participation.Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency the Sunyani area manager said 10,000 hectares of degraded portions of forests nationwide had been replanted in spite of the heavy destruction caused by wildfires to the country's forest cover in 1983. About 1,558 farmers in 36 fringe communities in the transition zone are benefiting from the taungya system initiated in 2002 and which offered 40 per cent of proceeds from sales on the standing tree value to participating farmers, he said.Mr. Benni said more than 10,000 metric tonnes of food crops were also produced to boost the region's food production. He, however, expressed regret that while the government was committed to the agreement benefiting four different parties, most farmers had failed in their responsibility towards tending of the reserves, which also provided employment opportunities. Mr Benni said illegal chain saw operations, persistent annual wildfires and encroachments have combined to stifle the reforestation activities and appealed to the farmers to live up to their commitment.

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