Rights and Advocacy Initiatives Network (RAIN) organized a district forum at the premises of the Church of Pentecost, Nyinahin Central in the Ashanti Region, on March 21, to celebrate this year’s International day of forest.
Traditional authorities, industry players, farmers, technocrats and other stakeholders were invited to join to celebrate this day and share ideas on how to protect the forest.
Addressing stakeholders on the theme, ‘Fostering Partnership to Safeguard our Forest’, Mrs. Doreen Asumang-Yeboah, the director of RAIN stated that, the forest resource is being degraded as a result of illegal activities such as farming, mining and logging. This has affected the function of forests to provide direct and indirect services including food, water and medicines for the health needs of people.
She noted that the livelihood and health of forest-dependent on communities and the nation at large is under serious threat.
Mrs. Asumang-Yeboah called on stakeholders to act with the speed of light to salvage the situation.
The director from RAIN making a presentation
Bernard Amanoh, the district officer of CHED bemoaned the nature and the rate at which farmers are leasing their cocoa farms to miners who then destroy the lands through their mining.
He said the backbone of the country’s cocoa farming is faced with the menace of illegal mining, which he noted is affecting production and output.
Mr. Amanoh added that no amount of payments from miners can substitute the yearly seasonal payment from cocoa production.
The district officer of CHED addressing a concern
The representative from the Ghana National Fire Service, Simon Bondziedu, ADO II, explained that about 90 percent of bush fires are caused by the activities of farmers who cook in their farms, palm wine tappers and hunters.
He advised the gathering, most of whom were farmers to desist from such dangerous adventures to safeguard the forest and their livelihoods.
Simon Bondziedu, ADO II, representative from GNFS
Mr. Chrisantus Nifaasoyir, the district manager of Forestry Commission said his outfit is doing its best to curtail the illegal activities in his sector.
He noted that his office has arrested and prosecuted many recalcitrant offenders whilst others are also on trial for invading some forest reserves without authority from his office.
Mr. Nifaasoyir called on the farmers to report to his office of any illegal activities within the forest.
His calls were echoed by Mr Paul Dawson, Manager Minerals Commission, Kumasi who was also present.
District Manager for Nkawie Forest Commission
Nana Nimo Akowuah, the representative from the Nyinahin traditional council commended RAIN-Ghana and its partners Client-Earth for this perpetual novelty.
He said they are trying their best to halt all illegal activities, but the actors and players also find their way out.
He promised to table the issue at their council meeting for thorough deliberations and brainstorming to make a headway on the issue.
Nana Nimo Akowuah, the representative from the Nyinahin traditional council
The elated farmers thanked RAIN for their intervention and asked them to use their influence to stop a mining activity at Okyerekrom which is destroying the Nobe River, their only source of drinking water and its aquatic creatures