Researcher calls for national taskforce to fight illegal lumbering

Dennis Peprah/Sarah Ankamah-Yeboah, GNA

Dumasua (B/A), Oct. 10, GNA – Dr John Akparep,
a Researcher and Senior Lecturer at the University of Development Studies, has
called for the establishment of a national taskforce to fight illegal chainsaw
operations and preserve the forest resources. 

The taskforce would intensify surveillance on
the shoulders of forest reserves and combat illegal timber logging, which was
depleting forest resources and affecting national biodiversity, he said. 

Speaking at a stakeholders’ workshop on
Tuesday at Dumasua in the Sunyani West District, Dr Akparep said agriculture,
as the bedrock of Ghana’s economy, was largely dependent on the strength of the
nation’s forest and trees, which was fast depleting. 

He said with emphasis on cash crop farming, agriculture
remained the main driving force of Ghana’s economy as it accounted for
approximately 42 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product and also
employed 54 per cent of the national workforce. 

The workshop was organised by the Ghana Association
of Commercial Tree Growers and Cash Crops (GACTACC) with support from the
Business Sector Advocacy Challenge Fund (BUSAC). 

It is in line with a project, dubbed:
“Advocating for conservation of cash crops and trees against illegal lumbering
for sustainable use,” being implemented by the Association with funding from
the BUSAC Fund and its partners. 

Attended by representatives from the Forestry
Commission, Stool Lands, Civil Society Organisations, and the Environmental
Protection Agency, the workshop created opportunity and common platform for the
participants to brainstorm on the effective way of protecting national forest
reserves and cash crops.  

Dr Akparep said aside illegal chainsaw
operations, the taskforce would check the uncontrolled activities of sand
winners, charcoal burners, illegal small scale miners, yam stick cutters as
well as activities of Fulani herdsmen, which were contributing to forest

He said cash crop farms such as cocoa, cashew,
oil palm, acacia, mangoes, coffee, rubber and moringa were threatened due to
forest destruction, adding that if the situation was not brought under control,
the country would suffer in the long term.      

Mr Joseph Yeboah, the Chairman of the GACTACC,
said annual average earnings of farmers engaged in cash crops were declining
due to tropical deforestation. 

He lauded the BUSAC Fund for the support and
appealed to residents of forest fringe communities to help prevent illegal
lumbering and other negative environmental practices by arresting the
perpetrators involved.


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