The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has launched the 2023 edition of the Green Ghana Day in Kumasi, which has been slated for 9th June 2023, with a call on all Ghanaians and residents in the country to come out in their numbers and support the national tree planting exercise.
He said the Green Ghana Day presents an opportunity to show patriotism, exhibit our commitment to the protection of our forest resources, and to demonstrate our resolve to leave our children with a richer and greener Ghana.
The Asantehene lauded Government for initiating the Green Ghana Project. He underscored the importance of trees to environmental protection, climate change mitigation, and the survival of the planet. He said it was because these benefits that he committed to plant some 2.5 million trees towards the protection of Lake Bosomtwe, in the Ashanti Region.
The Green Ghana Day was first launched by Government in 2021, under the auspices of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, as part of an aggressive afforestation and reforestation agenda, to restore the lost forest cover of the country. The maiden edition targeted to plant five million (5,000,000) trees, but over seven million (7,000,000) trees were planted. Last year, over twenty-six million (26,000,000) trees were planted, exceeding the target of twenty million (20,000,000).
Speaking at the launch of the third edition of the Green Ghana Day, the Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, Mr. John Allotey said, for the past two years, Ashanti Region has been planting the most trees on Green Ghana Days. He said over eighty-one percent of the trees planted in 2021 have survived while seventy-two percent (72%) of the those planted last year have survived.
The Asantehene bemoaned the wanton destruction of forests due to illegal mining and illegal logging. He said chief and members of the local communities cannot feign ignorance about those involved in this destruction. He promised to drive around the Ashanti Region and call all chiefs whose lands have been degraded to come and answer. “Government cannot do it alone. We must all get involved and support Government to come to grips with these matters,” Otumfuo said.
On his part, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Samuel A. Jinapor, said over years, there has not been any concerted effort to restore our lost forest cover. He said between 2010 and 2015 alone, the country lost one hundred and sixty thousand, two hundred and ten hectares (160,210 ha) of forest. But between 1963 and 2016, only one hundred and fifty-seven thousand, three hundred hectares (157,300 ha) of forest was cultivated.
The Minister said even though Government has, since 2017, been taking several measures to restore our lost forest cover, the Green Ghana Project was necessary to create enhanced national awareness of the necessity for collective action towards restoration of degraded landscapes in the country, inculcate values of planting and nurturing of trees in our citizens, particularly among the younger generation, mitigate climate change and beautify communities and the environment.
He thanked all those who have supported the Programme for the past two years and reiterated the call for all residents in the country to come out in their numbers to support the tree planting exercise on June 9, 2023.
The event was also attended by the Chairman of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Council as well as the Vice Chancellor of the University.