A total of 44,862 youth have benefited from the Youth in Afforestation Project (YAP) that seeks, to among others, establish and maintain forest plantations using direct labour, the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Benito Owusu-Bio, has said.
According to him, the beneficiaries, who are across the country, have augmented the supervisory efforts of the Forestry Commission towards the establishment of plantations in collaboration with farmers under the Modified Taungya System (MTS).
“Over the period (April 2018 – 2020), an estimated 13,763 hectares was established under the MTS,” he stated and added that a total of 11,993.03 hectares had been planted in degraded reserves since 2018 to June 2020.
Answering questions in Parliament yesterday, Mr. Owusu-Bio said 11,3376.08 hectares were undertaken under direct planting, 30.72 hectares under seed orchard, 10 hectares under model plantation, 202 hectares under watershed planting and 9.98 hectares under boundary planting.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Ningo-Prampram, Samuel George, on behalf of Amen West MP, Eric Afful, had asked the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources for the status of the YAP by the Forestry Commission.
The deputy minister disclosed that a total of 259.58 hectares were done under woodlots (savanna) and 20 hectares under green firebreak.
Plantation Maintenance and Protection
“Mr. Speaker, regular maintenance and the protection of forest plantations are vital in ensuring enhanced tree growth, good wood quality and optimal yield.
“Mr. Speaker, a total of 44,165.75 and 8,254.3 hectares of plantation areas for both forest reserves and off-reserve areas were maintained for 2018 and 2019 respectively,” the minister indicated.
According to him, the maintenance activities include weeding, beating-up, replanting of failed areas, coppice management, pruning and singling.
Others include fire protection (fire patrols and firefighting, the education and sensitization), prevention and control of pests and diseases.
A total of 6,446.35 hectares of Enrichment planting sites, Direct planting, Amenity planting and Seed orchards established in 2018 and 2019 have also been maintained as at June 30, 2020.
“Mr. Speaker, in 2018, YAP beneficiaries provided support to FSD staff in the transition and the Savanna zones to produce approximately 500,000 seedlings from 12 model forest tree nurseries. Some of the beneficiaries provided similar support in seedling production to FSD nurseries in the High Forest Zone,” he said.
Covid-19 Pandemic and Related Issues
Mr. Owusu-Bio revealed that following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the YAP was suspended for almost two months; and added that field activities resumed during the third week of May.
“The Forestry Commission provided 100,000 nose masks and some hand sanitizers to beneficiaries across the country. Additionally, beneficiaries were educated to observe the Covid-19 safety protocols at all times,” he added.
“I wish to state that following two years of project implementation, the YAP has significantly contributed to restoring key degraded landscapes both on and off-reserve across the country and contributed to achieving our national and international landscape restoration targets and objectives; while providing ‘green jobs’ for a large number of our teeming unemployed youth.
“In terms of remuneration, all beneficiaries have been paid their monthly allowances up to June 2020,” he said.
By Ernest Kofi Adu, Parliament House