Traditional leaders have been urged to show interest in the potential and the numerous benefits of bamboo and encourage its production and utilization to enhance the livelihoods of the people in their traditional areas.
Mr Benito Owusu Bio, Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, who made the call, said bamboo and rattan resources had the potential to improve the livelihoods of hundreds of people that lived near forest ecosystems.
They also have the potential to combat climate change and help address the challenges of deforestation and forest degradation in Ghana.
Mr Owusu Bio was speaking at the opening of a two-day sensitization workshop on bamboo and rattan development for Asanteman Queen Mothers Association at Akyawkrom in the Ejisu Municipality.
He said it was time to actively involved the queen mothers who played significant roles in society and depended on forest resources, to understand and appreciate the importance of that natural resource which was abundant but underutilized in the country.
The workshop was organized by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Forest Plantation Development Fund (FPDF).
“This workshop among other things, has purposely been arranged to provide our queen mothers with good knowledge and insight on the extent to which bamboo and rattan resources in Ghana can sustain the livelihoods of our communities and the enormous opportunities that exist to create jobs, especially for women and the youth.
So, our queens, take this workshop seriously, make the best out of it and venture into bamboo and rattan plantations and create wealth for the marginalized in your communities,” he advised.
The workshop was also aimed at increasing the number of stakeholders engaged in the government’s efforts to meet the planting targets of bamboo and rattan in the Forest Plantation Strategy, which seeks to establish over 500,000 hectares of new bamboo plantations between 2015 -2040.
Mr. Owusu Bio quantifying the significance and uses of bamboo said the species had over 1,000 uses in Ghana.
He said it was unique in job creation along the value-chain, provided alternative livelihoods, suitable for reclaiming degraded lands, excellent in conserving watersheds, meets the country’s huge demand for wood fuel, handicrafts, furniture, materials for housing, sanitary uses and an important for climate change mitigation efforts, among others.
According to the Deputy Minister, as part of efforts to restore degraded landscapes and contribute to the global efforts towards the fight against climate change, the government was embarking on aggressive reforestation and afforestation programmes including the Green Ghana Day Initiative.
In 2021 the Green Ghana Day Initiative witnessed the planting of over seven million trees and over 24 million trees were planted in 2022.
This year, the government has targeted to plant 10 million more trees.
Mr Owusu Bio said the queen mothers would be motivated to participate actively in the Green Ghana Day to establish over 1000 hectares of bamboo plantations across Ashanti, Bono, Ahafo and Bono-East that constituted the Asanteman Queen Mothers Association.
He explained that subsequently, the bamboo and rattan programme would be extended to cover all queen mothers in the country, explaining that the sensitization programme was a pilot, and the Ministry would mobilize additional resources to ensure it covered other regions to maximise the benefits of the bamboo industry.
He encouraged all queen mothers in the country to support the government’s agenda in the fight against deforestation and forest degradation, especially the fight against galamsey, which had resulted in heavy pollution of water bodies across all mining communities in the country.
Nana Agyakomaa Dufie II, Asante Mamponghemma, and Chairperson of the Association, said queen mothers had a responsibility in addressing global warming and other unfriendly environmental factors.
She pledged their readiness to lead in the course to cultivate more bamboo species and intercrop to enhance food security.