John Allotey (inset), CEO, Forestry Commission, addressing the press conference on the overview of the 2024 Green Ghana Day. Picture: ERNEST KODZI
John Allotey (inset), CEO, Forestry Commission, addressing the press conference on the overview of the 2024 Green Ghana Day. Picture: ERNEST KODZI
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Forestry Commission exceeds tree planting target

The Forestry Commission (FC) has said Green Ghana Day 2024 surpassed the national target of planting 10 million seedlings, with nearly 14 million seedlings distributed across the country.

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It said 14 regions exceeded their planting targets, with the North East and Greater Accra regions being the only ones who failed to meet their targets. According to the FC, with a relatively even distribution of 13,875,286 seedlings, the achievement marked a new milestone in the country’s reforestation and environmental sustainability efforts.

At a news conference in Accra Thursday, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the commission, John Allotey, said the distribution exceeded expectations, with 9.2 million seedlings, representing 66.4 per cent, planted in forest reserve areas, while about 4.66 million seedlings, representing 33.6 per cent, designated for off-forest reserves.

Mr Allotey explained that the North East Region experienced insufficient rainfall by June 7, leading to a temporary hold on large-scale planting until conditions improved, adding that most seedlings were being kept in Forestry Commission offices, awaiting adequate rainfall.

For the Greater Accra Region, he said, the area distributed 524,241 out of 840,000 seedlings due to high demand for specific types of seedlings. “The demand for ornamental, shade, and food seedlings such as coconuts, mangoes and palms resulted in fewer timber species being planted. Despite increasing the supply of these popular seedlings, the demand outpaced availability,” he said.

The total distribution, he said, included a diverse range of species, with timber species numbering 11,623.348 seedlings, representing 84 per cent, while fruit seedlings formed 941,867 seedlings, accounting for seven per cent.

A further 836,460 seedlings were multipurpose species, representing six per cent, he said, while 473,611 seedlings were shades/ornamental species, representing three per cent. 

Contributions

He acknowledged that significant contributions came from various stakeholders, including churches, schools and private sector companies. He noted that five churches, including the Church of Pentecost, Presbyterian Church, Catholic Church, Seventh Day Adventist and Methodist Church planted over 230,068 seedlings, with the Church of Pentecost alone planting over 92,356 seedlings.

The press conference on the overview of the 2024 Green Ghana Day.

The press conference on the overview of the 2024 Green Ghana Day.

The Green Ghana Project, he said, was a testament to the country's commitment to environmental sustainability and climate change mitigation. “As the country continues to strive towards a greener future, the collaborative efforts of the government, private sector and citizens are paving the way for a sustainable and vibrant ecosystem,”he added. 

Next Steps

Mr Allotey said the commission, in collaboration with the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, would confirm the number of seedlings successfully planted and continue monitoring their growth.

The success of the campaign, he said, underscored the collective effort required to combat deforestation and promote environmental sustainability in Ghana. “Green Ghana Day 2024 has demonstrated the nation's commitment to reforestation, setting a robust foundation for future environmental initiatives and fostering a greener, more sustainable Ghana,” he added.

Concerns

Answering questions from journalists, the CEO said the commission emphasised careful scrutiny and strategic planning in the distribution of seedlings, ensuring that recipients are capable of managing the quantities requested.

Regarding land use, he said, the commission provided seedlings free of charge, particularly for those planting on personal land or within forest reserves, adding that the commission retains no claim over the produce from such private planting.

Mr Allotey said the commission was mindful of the ecological and economic impact of their initiatives, saying,” We measure carbon sequestration and receive benefits from it, contributing to both environmental and economic goals."

Regarding the allowances for the youth involved in afforestation, he mentioned ongoing efforts to secure funding through the Ministries of Finance and Lands and Natural Resources to address outstanding payments.

Addressing issues of tree planting in urban areas, he encouraged the planting of ornamental and fruit trees in urban areas due to space constraints. "We advise against planting timber trees like Mahogany close to buildings. Instead, residents must opt for ornamentals and fruit trees such as Coconut and Flamboyant," he added.

Mr Allotey gave an assurance that the Forestry Commission condemned any illegal activities within forest reserves and remained committed to combating illegal logging, mining, and poaching.

Also addressing security concerns for forest guards, he said, the commission had implemented training initiatives in collaboration with the Ghana Armed Forces to enhance the capabilities of their frontline staff. 

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