Deputy Minister for forestry and natural resources Benito Owusu – Bio has disclosed that a total of 44,862 youths have benefited from the Youth Afforestation Program.
The Youth in Afforestation Program beneficiaries who are across the county, have augmented the supervisory efforts of the forestry commission towards the establishment of plantations in collaboration with farmers under the Modified Taungya System ( MTS ).
The Deputy Minister made this known on Tuesday 28th July,2020, in Parliament in response to a question asked by Hon. Samuel Nartey George on behalf of Hon. Eric Afful; on the status of the Youth in Afforestation Programme(tree planting exercise) by the Forestry Commission of the Republic of Ghana from 2017 to date.
According to Mr. Owusu-Bio, over the period, April 2018 to June 2020 an estimated 13, 763 Hectors was established under the MTS and a total of 44,165.75 and 8,254.3 Hectors of plantation areas for both forest reserves and off-reserve areas were maintained for 2018 and 2019 respectively.
The Government of Ghana in line with the 2012 Forest and Wildlife policy, launched the Ghana Forest plantation strategy 2016 – 2040, which seeks among others things to establish 25,000 hectares of forest plantations annually mainly through the public and private sector.
Additionally, the Plantation Strategy seeks to undertake Enrichment Planting of degraded forest reserves, planting of trees on farms and maintenance and rehabilitation of existing Forest plantations.
In line with strategy, the forestry commission and the Youth Employment Agency in November 2017 signed a Service Agreement for the joint implementation of a two year forest plantation project under the youth in Agricultural and Afforestation Module.
Mr. Benito Owusu-Bio noted that, following the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, YAP was suspended for almost (2) months, of which field activities of during the third week provided.
In view of this, the Forestry Commission has provided 100,00 nose masks and some hand sanitizers to beneficiaries across the country, as well as education as to how to observe the safety protocols at all times.