Business News of Thursday, 17 May 2018
Ghana is almost losing all its forest cover due to neglect and lack of policy direction to protect the sector, an international pro-forestry organization has said.
According to the group, the forest cover in Ghana has almost diminished while the country’s forest reserve is also depleting faster.
“Ghana loses nearly 3% of its forest each year and almost everything outside of forest reserves” Proforest Africa Director Abraham Baffoe revealed at the ongoing Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA) 2020 Annual Meeting here in Accra.
Explaining the depletion of the country’s forest, Mr Baffoe indicated that government over the years decided to protect only forest reserve and not forest cover, which means leaving areas outside forest reserves for other land use options such as agriculture etc. “At that time, we had 8 million hectares of forest but just about 1.8 million were reserved for permanent forestry,” he said.
He continued “What has happened over years is that we have lost almost everything outside forest reserve thus all the six million hectares to the extent that some of the reserve (1.8 million hectares) have been converted to cocoa farming.”
“We no longer have up to 1 million hectares which are in good forest reserve and that’s the challenge,” Mr Baffoe added.
According to Proforest, its goal is to improve forest cover outside forest reserve through agroforestry and other tools that will increase the carbon stock of those areas.
The TFA 2020 meeting is to provide a common platform for Governments and forest actors as well as private sector to address commodity-driven deforestation, an issue that has risen in global prominence since many major food and consumer goods companies committed to ending deforestation in key supply chains in 2010.
“Forests are essential for reaching our climate target. Nature is 37% percent of the solution and forests play a major part in that. They are also an essential vehicle to achieve the sustainable development goals –they protect the world’s poor, protect against climate risk and are essential for food security. Deforestation-free commodity supply chains are the supply chains of the future,” said Marco Albani, Director, Tropical Forest Alliance 2020.
The TFA 2020 Annual General Assembly will end on 17 May with the Fourth Regional Meeting of the Africa Palm Oil Initiative (APOI). The meeting is convened by the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 in collaboration with the Government of Ghana and Proforest.