Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene, has planted a symbolic tree at a ceremony in Kumasi, to officially commence in the Ashanti Region the implementation of the ‘Green Ghana Project’, an initiative of the Government aiming to recover Ghana’s lost forest cover.
The Region is to plant one million tree seedlings, including teak, coconut, mahogany, royal palm, amongst others.
The tree species were nursed and provided by the Forestry Commission.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu was assisted by the Regional Minister, Mr. Simon Osei-Mensah, the Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE), Mr. Osei Assibey-Antwi, as well as Heads of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
The Deputy Minister-designate for Land and Natural Resources, Mr. Benito Owusu-Bio, was also present at the event.
The authorities took turns to also plant varied tree seedlings aimed at recovering Ghana’s lost forest cover, which has shrunk to 1.2 million hectares, according to the Ministry.
The Ministry, which is spearheading the Project, estimates that the country’s forest cover stood at about eight million hectares when Ghana gained independence in 1957.
Illegal small-scale mining and tree-felling, farming activities, bushfires and unsupervised forestry activities were to blame for this development, says the Ministry.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu, as part of the programme, interacted with some selected school children present at the programme, educating them on the essence of trees.
In a brief message to the kids, the king inspired them to be owners of the environment and urged them to find time to plant trees in their schools, vicinities and communities.
The Asantehene, since the assumption of the Golden stool in 1999, he had initiated the Asanteman Landscape Restoration Project, an eco-project leading to the planting of more than 100, 000 tree seedlings.
The intended purpose is to protect Lake Bosomtwe, one of the world’s renowned natural lakes, as well as other water bodies in the Region.
Mr. Owusu-Bio pointed out that the ‘Green Ghana Project’ had been designed to combat the harmful effects of the changing climatic conditions.
The Government, he said, was collaborating with key stakeholders, including traditional authorities to advance the noble cause of the Project.
Mr. Osei-Mensah said the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) was committed to ensuring that the varied tree seedlings planted were protected at all times to help improve the ecosystem.