The Forestry Commission (FC) is planning to begin a paper-making training programme at its training Centre at Akyawkrom, in the Ejisu Municipality.
The training programme which will be at the basic and advanced levels is aimed at building the skills and capacities of Ghanaians in paper making and serve as a production site for paper bags and other paper products.
Madam Martha Kwayie, Deputy Chief Executive of the Commission who announced this, said the objective was to help solve the problem of using plastics as carrier bags and other packaging materials which were causing a lot of environmental havoc in Ghana.
“The paper bags produced could be a good substitute to reduce the negative impacts of indiscriminate disposal of plastics in our environment”, she stated at the closing ceremony of a hand papermaking pilot training programme at the Forest Commission Training Centre (FCTC), at Akyawkrom, near Ejisu.
A total of 45 people under the Youth in Afforestation programme drawn from the Ashanti region, took part in the four weeks intensive training programme using the invasive York plant.
It was facilitated by Professor Mary Hark, from Wisconsin-Madison University, USA, and Krataa Foundation, with support from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the FC.
Madam Kwayie Manu indicated that Ghana as a country had paid little attention to the development, management, and utilization of the York plant as an important raw material for paper making, although it was abundant in the high forest areas, and forest reserves and farmlands.
She said for most farmers and rural dwellers, the York plant was an invasive plant that should be burnt or poisoned during land preparation for cultivation of food and cash crops.
The Deputy Chief Executive was hopeful that the successful application of the skills acquired would help the FC to wean off some beneficiaries of the Youth in Afforestation Programme.
She, therefore, urged the recipients to use the skills, as well as other capacities they had built from the Commission to set up businesses in paper making, adding that, the FC would provide the needed assistance to all such individuals and groups.
Dr Joseph Boakye, Director of FTCT, said before the training, much less was known about paper making potential of the York plant, and as a result, no attention had been devoted to the plant.
Most of the traditional training courses, according to him, had concentrated on building the skills and expertise of artisans in the wood industry, both formal and informal, to the neglect of other equally important crafts in paper making.
Dr Boakye expressed satisfaction at the new exposure and said it had added to the dimensions of skills training courses being offered at the Center.