Government marks rivers and forest reserves as “Red Zones” for mining

By News, Press Release

Government has marked river bodies and forest reserves as “no go areas” for mining as it enhanced its resolve to ending galamsey.

Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, reaffirmed government’s determination to end illegal mining, during a meeting with Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives(MMDCEs) in Takoradi.

“We’re at crossroads in our fight against galamsey and so government has put in place interventions to sanitize the small-scale mining sector.

“Therefore, the MMDCEs are the heartbeat and fulcrum around which law enforcement can thrive in our fight against galamsey,” Mr Jinapor told MMDCEs from mining districts in the Western Region.

The Minister stated that the Regional and District Security Councils had been mandated to spearhead the fight against illegal mining at the communities and, therefore, the Regional Ministers and MMDCEs who chair the Councils should work in harmony with the security agencies and stakeholders in the mining communities to end the galamsey menace.

“You should make sure no mining activities take place 100 metres to water bodies.

“No fresh mining permit will be issued and so you’ll not accept new forest entry permits from anyone.

“And so make sure no NPP man or NDC man or anyone enters a forest reserve or river body to mine, no person is above the law,” Mr Jinapor cautioned.

The Minister said from Friday, April 30, all mining equipment operating in forest reserves should be evacuated from the site and thus, tasked the MMDCEs to enforce the directives to the letter.

That directive is in reference to the “no more mining reconnaissance and/ or prospecting licence will be issued by the Minerals Commission until further notice.

“This is no “big men” when it comes to enforcement of mining regulations. It’s a national undertaking,” he added.

The Minister admitted that illegal mining small-scale, otherwise known as ‘galamsey’ is endemic in Ghana and it will take a while to eradicate it completely, therefore MMDCEs had critical roles to play in that regard.

The Minister is on a two-day working tour of the Region to have first- hand information on challenges in the small-scale mining sector.

The Minister also held a closed-door meeting with members of the Regional Security Council to find ways of enforcing the mining laws and regulations.

He also paid a courtesy call on Omanhene of Essikadu Traditional Area Nana Kobina Nketsia V.


Protect Lake Bosomtwe by planting trees

By News, Support

Three fringe communities on the Lake Bosomtwe Basin have embarked on a tree planting exercise as part of efforts to protect the lake.

The Amakom, Adjaman and Atafram communities embarked on the exercise under the Asantehene Land Restoration Project, which coincided with this year’s International Day of Forests and World Water Day celebrations.

The Forests and World Water days are celebrated to raise awareness of the importance of forests to the people and their vital role in poverty eradication, environmental sustainability and food security.

Led by Nana Adu Mensah Asare, the Chief of Kumasi Amakom and Chairman of the Asantehene Land Restoration Project, the three communities planted hundreds of tree species in the buffer zones of the Lake, which continue to dry up due to human activities.

The King of the Asante Kingdom, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, is executing the project with support from the Oheneba Poku Foundation and Blaze Metal Resources, which seeks to restore 40,000 hectares of degradable lands in the Bosomtwe Biosphere Reserve.

The target is to plant and manage three million trees by 2024 out of which 2.5 million would be planted in the buffer of the Lake.

Nana Adu Mensah said the Asantehene’s vision was not only to protect Ghana’s only natural lake and other water bodies but also restore lands and forests that had been degraded in his Kingdom.

He said the expectation was that those engaging in farming activities around the lake would be forced to vacate as more trees were planted to save the Lake from further dwindling.

Members of all the 22 communities in the biosphere, he said, had shown commitment to support the King in protecting the lake which is one of the major tourist sites in the region.

Mr Fred Kyei Sarpong, the Executive Director of Oheneba Poku Foundation, said the project would have a huge impact on the livelihood of residents in surrounding communities and beyond as it would address virtually all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

He said 110,000 out the 2.5 million trees had already been planted around the Lake and that 1.5 million more would be planted this year.

“We are not just planting the trees but we are managing them together with all the 22 communities in the Bosomtwe Biosphere Reserve. So they would naturally own and nurture them knowing how significant the trees are to the lake,” he stated.

“We are not only planting trees but we are introducing conservation agriculture here so that farmers can have sustainable ways of farming and also consider the top soil as the most important asset they have”.

He implored the Bosomtwe and Bosome Freho District Assemblies to strictly enforce their by-laws to make illegal activities around the Lake and forest reserves unattractive.

Mr Yaw Oppong Agyemang, the Country Manager of Blaze Metal Resources, said since most streams uptake their sources from forests, it was important to protect and restore the forests to sustain water bodies.

He said his outfit would continue to support the Asantehene to implement the project to restore the vibrant nature of the Lake, thereby improving the local economy.

Amakomhene calls on farmers to embrace smart farming

By Engagements, News

Nana Adu Mensah, the Chief of Kumasi-Amakom, has called on farmers living in communities dotted around the Bosomtwe Lake to embrace climate-smart agricultural practices to help protect the only natural lake in the Country.

He said by doing that, it would have the multiple advantage of not only protecting the lake but also reduce operational cost, boost crop yield and combat climate change. Climate-Smart Agriculture is an integrated approach to managing landscapes, cropland, livestock, forests and fisheries – that addresses the interlinked challenges of food security and climate change.

Nana Asare was speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting on the proposed Lake Bosomtwe Landscape Restoration Project to be spearheaded by the Asantehene, Otumfour Osei Tutu II, in collaboration with Oheneba Poku Foundation.
The meeting was attended by traditional leaders of 23 communities in the Lake Bosomtwe basin, representatives of state agencies such as Water Resources Commission (WRC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other relevant stakeholders. The five-year project seeks to plant 2.5 million trees on a 4,500 hectare land in over 30 communities around the lake.

A Community Resource Management Area (CREMA), made up of representatives from the various communities, had been set up to undertake the tree planting. The Amakomhene, who had been nominated by the Asantehene as the Chair of the Implementation Committee, said the farmers would reap huge benefits by actively participating in the project. He said adhering to the advice of experts under the project would ensure fertile soil that would guarantee higher nutritional value to food, adding that, healthy soil holds more moisture to keep plant roots hydrated during dry seasons.

Adopting other soil conservation methods such as contour planting and no-till farming, he noted, could reduce erosion and keep the soil in place during heavy downpour and flooding. He decried the rate at which the lake was shrinking and dwindling in fish stock largely due to human activities including unacceptable farming practices, land degradation and deforestation.

Approximately 60 per cent of deforestation is caused by agricultural expansion as the conversion of forest to cropland produces a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions”, he stated. He said the Asantehene was embarking on the project to restore the Lake to its glorious past and urged traditional leaders in the various communities and other stakeholders to support the King.

Mr. Fred Kyei, the Executive Director of Oheneba Poku Foundation, entreated the farmers to depart from the over reliance on chemicals in clearing their farmlands. Such practices, he said, contributed to low yields among local farmers as it adversely affected nutrient availability in the soil. Mrs. Abena Dufie Wiredu Bremang, Ashanti Regional Director of the Water Resources Commission, underlined the need to target the buffer zones around the lake before extending the tree planting exercise to other allocated lands.

“Do more to protect Ghana’s forests” – Asantehene urges Forestry Commission

By News

The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has urged the Forestry Commission, to step up the fight against illegal logging to protect Ghana’s forest cover from further destruction. He said much more needed to be done to halt the wanton destruction of forest reserves and charged the Commission to strictly enforce the laws to stem the bad practice.

Otumfuo made the observation when a delegation from the Forestry Commission led by its Chief Executive Officer, Mr Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, paid a courtesy call on him at the Manhyia Palace on Wednesday.

The delegation was at the palace to pay homage to the Asante King, who sat in state to receive visitors in commemoration of the Awukudae (one of the sacred days on the Asante calendar).

It was also to pledge the commitment of the Commission to the Lake Bosomtwe Landscape Restoration Project, being implemented by the Otumfuo in collaboration with Oheneba Poku Foundation.

The project seeks to plant 2.5 million trees over a five-year period in the Lake Bosomtwe basin, Ghana’s only natural lake, while contributing to climate change mitigation efforts in the country.

Otumfuo said it was unacceptable for people to plunder the forests with impunity and charged the Forestry Commission to take stringent steps to fight the menace.

He said in other jurisdictions, it was a great offense to cut a tree without authority due to how they valued the importance of trees to the environment.

He commended the Commission for their interest in the Lake Bosomtwe Project which, he said, was very dear to his heart because of the potential to restore the Lake to its glorious past.

The Asantehene directed the Commission to liaise with the Amakomhene, Nana Adu Mensah Asare, who is the Chairman of the implementation Committee to determine when to plant the first tree to signify the commencement of the project.

Mr Owusu-Afriyie said the project was in line with the afforestation programmes being pursued by the Commission, hence it was worth supporting.

He said the Commission would produce all the 2.5 million seedlings required for the project and also deploy its staff under the Youth in Afforestation Programme to hasten the planting exercise.

Additionally, the National Plantation Board would also produce 500,000 seedlings to support the project, he stated.