The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has called on citizenry across the country to come out in their numbers to support the national tree-planting exercise slated for June 9, 2023.
He made the call yesterday when he launched the 2023 edition of the Green Ghana Day at the Great Hall in Kwame University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi.
He stressed that the Green Ghana Day presents an opportunity to show patriotism, exhibit commitment to the protection of forest resources, and demonstrate resolve to leave the country’s children with a richer and greener Ghana.
The Asantehene further lauded Government for initiating the Green Ghana Project. He also emphasised the importance of trees to environmental protection, climate change mitigation, and the survival of the planet.
“It was because of these benefits that I committed to planting some 2.5 million trees for the protection of Lake Bosomtwe, in the Ashanti Region,” the Asantehene stated.
The Asantehene, however, bemoaned the wanton destruction of forests due to illegal mining and illegal logging. According to him, chiefs and members of the local communities cannot feign ignorance about those involved in this destruction.
He promised to drive around the Ashanti Region and summon all chiefs whose lands had been degraded to come and answer. “Government cannot do it alone. We must all get involved and support Government to come to grips with these matters,” Otumfuo stated.
For his part, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, lamented that over years, there had not been any concerted effort to restore the lost forest cover, despite the consequences of such challenges.
He recounted that between 2010 and 2015 alone, the country lost 160,210 hectares of forest. He, however, indicated that between 1963 and 2016, only 157,300 hectares of forest was cultivated.
Mr Jinapor noted that even though Government had, since 2017, been taking measures to restore the lost forest cover, the Green Ghana Project was necessary to create enhanced national awareness of restoring degraded landscapes in the country.
He said it had inculcated values of planting and nurturing of trees in citizens, particularly among the younger generation to mitigate climate change and beautify communities and the environment.
He thanked all those who have supported the programme for the past two years, and reiterated the call for all residents in the country to come out in their numbers to support the tree planting exercise come June 9 this year.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, John Allotey, said for the past two years, Ashanti Region had been planting the most trees on Green Ghana Days.
He pointed out that over 81 percent of the trees planted in 2021 had survived while 72 percent of the those planted last year had also survived.
The event was also attended by the Chairman of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Council as well as the Vice Chancellor of the University.