Let us plant and nurture more trees- President urges Ghanaians

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Environment President Trees
Environment President Trees

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged Ghanaians to plant more trees and nurture them to grow to enhance the country’s carbon sink and combat climate change.

“Today, your contribution is to step out, take a seedling, plant it, and ensure it grows. I encourage each one of you my fellow Ghanaians and indeed, all persons living in Ghana, young and old, men and women, urban and rural, to join me on this historic day, in this national tree planting exercise”

He made the call at the 2023 edition of the “Green Ghana Day” held at the main park of the University of Ghana, Legon, on Friday.

This year’s exercise is under the theme: “Our Forests, Our Health.” The initiative launched in 2021 by President Akufo-Addo as part of an aggressive afforestation and reforestation agenda of the government, is intended to restore the lost forest cover of the country devastated by the illegal small-scale mining and timber logging.

The maiden edition of the programme, initiated by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, targeted planting five million trees but ended up planting over seven million seedlings. In 2022, more than 26 million trees were planted, exceeding the 20 million targets.

The Government since 2017 has been taking several proactive measures to restore the country’s lost forest cover, hence the Green Ghana Project is a necessary intervention to create national awareness of the necessity for collective action towards the restoration of the degraded landscapes.

The programme also aims at inculcating values of planting and nurturing trees in the citizens, particularly among the younger generation, to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change as well as beautify the environment.

President Akufo-Addo told the gathering at the Main Park of the University that his administration remained committed to protecting “our environment, our people and contributing to global efforts to halt climate change.”

The government, he said, would continue to explore all avenues to enhance Ghana’s forest cover through afforestation and reafforestation programmes and protect the country’s natural resources through community-based management and conservation initiatives.

The President indicated that it was important that the State reviewed the target for this year downwards to devote more time and resources to nurturing the over 23 million trees that had survived since the “Green Ghana” initiative started in 2021.

The Ministry has reviewed the target for this year downwards to ten million trees, adopting a three-pronged strategy to now plant in degraded forest reserves across the country, within and around farms and to maintain already planted trees from 2021 to date.

“Today, we have another opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to saving planet Earth and protecting our livelihoods. The theme for this year; “Our Forest, Our Health” is a clarion call for the need to preserve our forest for our own survival” the President said.

“This is a duty we owe not only to the current generation but also to generations yet unborn. We must go with the spirit of nationalism, solidarity, and most importantly, love for ourselves, our country, and our planet,” he stressed.

President Akufo-Addo commended the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry for its recent ‘One Student, One Tree’ initiative, and called on students in the country to embrace the enterprise and participate fully.

“I commend the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources for instituting the one student, one tree initiative alongside this “Green Ghana” project. Through this, we can inculcate the culture of tree planting in our youth and hopefully, jettison the culture of impunity that leads to the destruction of our forest.

“I encourage all students across the country to participate fully in this national exercise and contribute their share to the fight against climate change,” he said.

Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources said the Green Ghana project was an important exercise that required the support of every Ghanaian, institution, and body because it bordered on the country’s existence.

He said Ghana’s quest to combat the effects of climate change would be successful only if everyone actively supported and participated in the project.

The Minister said the ministry would work to protect the country’s forest reserve and environment and called for collective action towards the restoration of degraded landscapes across Ghana.

This year’s trees available for planting include Eucalyptus, Mahogany, Ofram, Ceiba, Emire, Wawa, Teak, Cedrela, Manzonian and Rosewood.

Others are Fuelwood such as Cassia, Acacia, Milletia, and Albizia, and Shade Trees like Rain Tree, Montalis, and Flamboyant.

The rest are Ornamentals trees including Polyantha, Mimusop, Royal Palm, Weeping Willow, Ixora, Orchid Tree and the Tree of Life, as well as fruit trees like Mango, Coconut, Orange, Lemon, India Almond, Avocado and Cashew.

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