Forest plantation dev’t fund targets donor support towards afforestation

Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Peter Amewu inaugurating the board

…as Lands Minister inaugurates FPDF board

The newly inaugurated Forest Plantation Development Fund (FPDF) board has said it will put a scheme in place to attract donor funding for plantation establishments in the country.

The scheme, according to the board, will provide an alternative venture to target groups including illegal miners, chainsaw operators and unemployed young people across Ghana.

“The arrangement will make provisions for obtaining loans at low or no interest to farmers who wish to venture into the plantation of indigenous forest trees such as odum, wawa, emire, ofram etc, all in a bid to prevent deforestation and the fast depletion of forest resources,” the Fund’s board chair, Nana Yaw Osei Barima told the Goldstreet Business.

Forestry experts have cautioned that Ghana’s natural forests run the risk of being depleted in the next 10 to 20 years.

The Ghana Forest Investment Program noted that the country loses two percent of its forest cover annually, translating into almost 700, 0000 hectors.

In 2014 , the then Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Barbara Serwaa Asamoah indicated that the government was going to commence with the importation of timber.

She was then addressing the 5th edition of National Forest Forum-Ghana (NFF-G) in Dodowa, where she disclosed that timber products on the domestic market were not enough to meet demands.

But Nana Osei Barima explained that for the almost 20 years of the fund’s existence, it has not been able to attract any financial support for individuals who wish to venture into plantation establishment.

“The reason is obvious. The board has failed to put up a workable scheme to convince would-be donors that their contribution would be beneficial to the country in its effort to prevent deforestation while promoting sustained plantation programmes,” he explained.

Inaugurating the 11-member board, the Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Mr. Peter Amewu asked the members to as a matter of urgency generate ideas to tackle the menace of illegal mining which is rapidly depleting the country’s forest cover.

“You’ll need to provide policy guidance, strategies to tackle climate change, review progress of afforestation programmes and approve budgets for operational activities,” he said.

Members of the board include Nana Yaw Osei Barima, Chairman, while co-opted members are Mr. Benson Oduro, Philomena Serwaa Akoto Sam, George Donkor, Charles Fynn, Mr Emmanuel Bodja, and Mr Kenneth Kodjo Ayim.

The rest are Dennis Hiadzi, Sylvia Nyante, Dr Emmanuel Marfo and Professor Patrick Agbesinyale.

By Wisdom Jonny-Nuekpe