Mr Prince Osei-Yeboah, Bolgatanga Municipal Manager of the Forestry Commission has appealed to media practitioners in the region to support the Commission to demystify some of the cultural beliefs and practices hindering afforestation in the area.
According to the Municipal Forestry Commission boss, the myth that when a tree grows to maturity, the one who plants it dies, was baseless and without any substance, as it lacked scientific base and cruel to nurturing the environment.
Mr Osei Yeboah made the appeal in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga in his bid to start a campaign to demystify the beliefs that discourage the people to grow trees in the area and noted that trees were important to the survival of the human race.
He said his interactions with communities over the years on growing tree species had become a challenge due to such cultural beliefs, and added that people living in communities do not want to plant trees for fear they would not live to enjoy its fruits.
He said human life depended on trees and therefore tree growing was key, adding that “allowing trees to die is also a way of depriving human beings of oxygen which is a threat to human life”.
The Municipal Forestry Manager said the Commission had started an Urban Tree planting exercise to plant 2,000 trees in strategic areas including; avenues, churches and schools in the Municipality to address the tree deficit in the area, and urged the people to support the exercise by protecting the trees.
He said the exercise was running alongside an on-going forest reclamation programme in five political Districts in the Upper East Region and indicated that caring for the trees was critical and urged citizens in the region to commit to care for them.
Mr Osei-Yeboah reiterated the importance of trees, especially in the requirement of herbal medicines for the treatment of various ailments and as sources of fruits, adding that the rate of destruction of trees through felling and fire should be stopped through aggressive campaigns spearheaded by the media in the region.
He said the Commission was bent on reducing poverty, and therefore have supported and trained people to learn to raise seedlings which many interested persons and institutions including the commission purchased for planting.
He noted that most of the tree seedlings used under the urban and reclamation exercise were being raised by people contracted to supply for the current tree planting exercise at a cost, and should therefore not be wasted.
He said as part of the Commission’s interest for communities and individuals to raise income for themselves, the Commission encouraged members of the public to collect plastic sachets to sell to the nursery attendants.
He said “We are trying to alleviate poverty from the planting of fibre (Cotton) among others under the forest reclamation exercise so that women can get money from picking and selling the cotton”.
The Municipal Manager lamented the lack of transportation as hindering the Commission in the afforestation project as they depended largely on tricycles as the means of transport for conveying seedlings and workers to site for work which according to him impeded the exercise having to depend on that for all the project activities.