THE Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has launched the 2023 edition of the Green Ghana Day in Kumasi rallying all Ghanaians and non-Ghanaian residents in the country to come out in their numbers and support the national tree planting exercise.
According to him, Green Ghana Day presents an opportunity to show patriotism, exhibit commitment to the protection of forest resources, and to demonstrate resolve to hand over a richer and greener Ghana for future generations.
Otumfuo bemoaned the wanton destruction of forests due to illegal mining and illegal logging and was categorical that chiefs and members of the local communities cannot feign ignorance about those involved in this destruction.
He promised to drive around the Ashanti Region and summon 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.
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 pointed out that it is 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 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 trees, but over seven million trees were planted.
Last year, over 26 million trees were planted, exceeding the target of 20 million.
Speaking at the launch of the third edition of the Green Ghana Day, the Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, John Allotey revealed that Ashanti Region planted the most trees on Green Ghana Days in the past two editions.
He noted that over 81% of the trees planted in 2021 survived while 72% of the those planted last year also survived.
On his part, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, said over the years, there has not been any concerted effort to restore our lost forest cover.
According to him, between 2010 and 2015 alone, the country lost 160,210 hectares of forest.
He pointed out that between 1963 and 2016, only 157,300 hectares of forest was cultivated.
The Minister said even though Government has, since 2017, been taking several measures to restore 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 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.