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A Campaigner and Forest Advocate at EcoCare Ghana, Obed Owusu-Addai, has revealed that 50% of Ghana’s forest cover has been lost due to agricultural related activities.
According to him forest clearance for cocoa, rubber, and food crop farms are the most common among a tall list of factors that cause deforestation in the country.
Owusu-Addai made the revelation at a day’s media training workshop organised by Friends of the Earth (FoE) Ghana to build the capacity of journalists on the Tree Tenure Policy in Accra on Tuesday.
He explained that causes of deforestation are numerous, interrelated and complex in nature, saying most causes can be linked to livelihood and development.
“There are both direct and indirect causes. The indirect causes are those factors that trigger the actual causes and these include; poverty, ignorance, corrupt practices of governments, security & forestry officials, weak institutions, inappropriate policies, lack of law enforcement, lack of concern by local communities, land tenure issues among others” Owusu-Addai stated.
He maintained that the situation get worse because farmers and land owners have generally been dissatisfied with the existing benefit sharing arrangement for revenue accrued from trees on their farms.
“The end result is that farmers prefer to kill-off naturally occurring trees than to nurture them on their farms and this has greatly contributed to deforestation within agricultural land, especially in cocoa landscapes” Owusu-Addai indicated.
He announced that due to these shortfalls, government has proposed ways of remedying the existing situation by the introduction of a new benefit sharing scheme for naturally occurring trees in off-reserve areas.
“When the proposed benefit sharing scheme for naturally occurring trees in off-reserve areas is approved, both farmers and land owners will be encourage to plant, and nurture naturally occurring trees in off-reserve areas to increase the country’s forest cover” Owusu-Addai noted.
Source: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH