President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has launched the Youth in Afforestation Programme (YAP) in Kumasi with a call on the 20,000 youth engaged under the programme, to be diligent in the discharge of their duties.
The President in an address said the programme was in line with government’s commitment to restore Ghana’s depleted forest cover and a materialization of one of the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) cardinal campaign promises, indicating a strong commitment to reforestation, forest rehabilitation and forest protection.
He said the programme which has a two-year lifespan would be extended based on satisfactory results adding that he was confident that the first phase of the programme would be a success.
Akufo-Addo reiterated his government’s support for any action that prevents forest degradation saying that trees being planted today would go a long way to save lives and generations yet unborn.
“It is my hope that in the next 10 years Ghana will be green again, as all the trees being planted today will be nurtured to increase our forest cover”, he said.
About 40,000 people, according to the President, who applied for the programme could not be engaged due to lack of funding and gave the assurance that he would liaise with the Finance Minister to raise additional funds to cater for them.
“We are committed to rolling our policy initiatives which will create jobs for the teeming masses of Ghanaian youth”, he said.
Mr John Peter Amewu, the outgone Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, said the YAP was one of government’s strategies in implementing its afforestation programmes while creating jobs for the youth.
He said it was not only offering job opportunities for the youth but also ensuring a resilient environment for both the present generation and posterity.
Mr Amewu revealed the Ministry would soon introduce a policy that allow farmers to plant and own trees as a way of encouraging more farmers to plant trees.
Mr Kwasi Owusu Afriyie, the Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission (FC), said the beneficiaries had been trained by staff of the FC in management of new seeds, transfer of seedlings and nursery management.
He said his outfit has established a robust monitoring system to ensure the activities of beneficiaries were monitored for optimum productivity.