Godwill Arthur-Mensah, GNA
Accra, March 20, GNA - The Government has expressed commitment to implement the Voluntary Partnership Agreement between Ghana and the European Union to eliminate trading in illegal wood on domestic and international markets.
In May, last year, the Government issued a directive to ban the export of rosewood across the country, as part of efforts to bring sanity to the forestry sector.
Mr John Peter Amewu, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, tasked the Forestry Commission to stop the issuance of felling permits for rosewood in view of its excessive exploitation.
Illegal harvesting and trading in rosewood in the country has attracted media attention in recent years.
Rosewood is used for making chess pieces, parts of other creative and musical instruments, and is highly priced in Asian countries.
A statement issued by Professor Patrick Agbesinyale, the Acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, and copied to the Ghana News Agency, on Tuesday said the Government would embark on massive forest plantation development drive to restore the forest cover.
Ghana joins the rest of the world to celebrate International Forest Day on March 21,2018, under the theme: ‘‘Forest and Sustainable Cities.’’
The Government is committed to the implementation of a number of interventions to address the issue of deforestation, degradation and improve the contribution of the forest to the economy, the statement said.
It said it would implement Tenure Policy Reforms and Benefit Sharing Arrangements to motivate farmers to plant more trees on their farms during land preparation.
It said efforts would be geared towards reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation through the implementation of the Ghana Forest Investment Programme and the REDD+.
The statement said it would review fines on forest offences to make them more deterrent as well as the development of a timber procurement policy, which would ensure that only legal timber was used for government projects.
This year’s global celebration of forest provides a platform for stakeholders to raise awareness on the importance of all types of wood, lands and trees, and find ways to sustain and protect the environment.
It urged all well-meaning Ghanaians to join hands to make the communities, towns and cities greener, healthier and happier place to live.