THE Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Julius Debrah, has assured that his outfit is committed to preserving the ecology of the Aburi Botanical Gardens and its adjoining undeveloped forest.
According to him, the garden, which was established about two centuries ago primarily as a first class tourism destination for both local and foreign tourists, ought to be maintained for the sake of posterity.
He gave the assurance when he and his deputy, Miss Mavis Ama Frempong, paid a surprise visit to the garden to ascertain media reports that the District Chief Executive for Akuapem South, Mr Kwadjo Afari Djan, had cleared a portion of the undeveloped forest for the construction of permanent buildings to house the assembly.
According to media reports, the DCE was also said to have cut some trees in the garden.
However, during the visit, it came to light that the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development had given permission for a portion of the undeveloped forest to be cleared for the construction of the assembly buildings.
It was also observed during the visit that the Cocoa Research Institute, which had cultivated cocoa on a portion of the garden, had cut some of the trees that had formed a huge canopy over the cocoa plants.
This, it was explained, was to allow for sunshine needed for the growth of the cocoa trees – some of which had developed pods.
The cocoa trees served as attraction for tourists and other visitors who had not seen cocoa pods before.
According to Mr Debrah, the Aburi Botanical Garden, which for close to two centuries now had put Ghana on the tourism map of the world, would be maintained.
He emphasised that his outfit would do everything to preserve the garden.
Mr Debrah said efforts were being made to address the problem.
Explaining the circumstances that led to the matter, Mr Afari Djan said following the creation of the district, he sought permission from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to utilise a portion of the undeveloped forest to construct permanent administrative buildings for the assembly and it was granted.
He said the development of the portion of the forest at issue – part of which was also being claimed by a family at Aburi – would not impact negatively on the garden.
‘We are doing it in such a way that the ecology and beauty of the garden and the forest would be maintained. We will not destroy such a beautiful place,’ he said.
For his part, the curator of the garden, Mr Albert Asiedu Prempeh, who was not happy that a portion of the undeveloped forest had been cleared, was hopeful that the matter would be addressed.
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