The Forestry Commission has begun work towards establishing three additional zoos in the country in Tamale, Koforidua and Takoradi as part of efforts to promote tourism while generating revenue for the state.
Mr John Allotey, Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, who announced this, said, “The Koforidua site has been identified and it has been fenced whilst we are waiting for approval from the Environmental Protection Agency.”
He added that “The Tamale site has been identified and the designs are being prepared and once they are ready, we will do the necessary consultations and start the practical work and the infrastructure.”
He announced this during the Commission’s Chief Executive’s End-of-Year briefing and staff recognition awards held in Tamale.
During the awards, 18 staff members of the Forestry Commission were given meritorious awards for their commitment and dedication to the organisation over the years, where they received citations, television sets, refrigerators, and an unspecified amount of money.
The country already has two zoos located in Accra and Kumasi, and the Accra Zoo had recently undergone refurbishment while the Kumasi Zoo is currently undergoing refurbishment.
Mr Allotey encouraged members of the public home and abroad to visit the zoos to achieve the intended purpose.
He touched on this year’s Green Ghana project and said 26.5 million seedlings were distributed, and three months after the exercise, staff of the Commission “At the district and regional levels have been able to confirm and verify that 24.5 million seedlings have been planted.”
He said “The Forest Services Division under the Plantation Development and Management Strategy was tasked to plant 25,000 hectares of plantation annually. Through the dedication of our staff, 18,887 hectares, representing 76 per cent, have been developed as of October, this year.”
He spoke about timber extraction and indicated “The total amount or volume of timber that has been extracted so far from the natural forest is 1.5 million cubic metres. This is made up of 1.3 million on reserve and 200,000 off reserve. As well, 142,000 cubic meters have been extracted from our plantation resources.”
Mr Allotey spoke about plans to strengthen reporting on the Commission’s activities from the regional levels, saying the Commission planned to have at least one public relations officer per region.
“To be able to report on activities that are happening in the various regions. We realised most of the activities happening in the regions are not reported on time and we will designate staff as public relations personnel and will be trained to be able to report on activities in the regions.”
Mr Benito Owusu Bio, a Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources expressed the need for efforts to ensure that trees planted under the Green Ghana project grew well. “As we approach the dry season, we need to put in extra efforts to fight wildfires from destroying the trees, especially in the fragile savannah ecological area.”
Professor Seidu Al-Hassan, Vice-Chancellor of the University for Development Studies (UDS), whose speech was read on his behalf, expressed the need for more collaboration between the government and other stakeholders to guarantee the success of the Green Ghana project.
He said the UDS had facilitated the planting of 3,547 seedlings as part of the Green Ghana project, announcing that the UDS would soon launch its West Africa Centre for Shea Innovation Research to help promote sustainable innovations in the shea sector through evidence-based research and policy advocacy to improve the livelihoods of the people.
Ya-Na Abukari (II), Overlord of Dagbon, whose speech was read on his behalf, pledged to support the Forestry Commission to ensure that trees planted were nurtured to maturity.