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Gov't to create 30,000 jobs next year
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Government will create 30,000 jobs, 300 in each of the 100 selected Districts in the country, next year, following cabinet's approval for implementation of the National Plantation Development Programme.

Alhaji Collins Dauda, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, who announced this, said the initiative sought to reduce deforestation and promote sustainable forest management through large scale commercial forest plantation.

He was speaking at the 14th Annual General Meeting of Ghana Institute of Foresters (GIF), on the theme: "Forest Law Enforcement-Impact on Forest Degradation and Climate Change", in Sunyani on Friday.

Alhaji Dauda expressed worry that some technical officers of the forestry sector assisted people to illegally fell valuable trees and urged the Institute to support the Programme to ensure sustainable management of the country's forest.

Dr. Kwame Asamoah Adam, national president of GIF, said research indicated that permanent forest estates were not responding positively to management interventions, which were based mainly on selective logging.

He said that forest managers continued to rely on basic forest management methods that were devoid of forest stock improvement.

This, the GIF national president, said resulted in significant decline in forest stock between 1972 and 2001, "as indicated in comparative analysis of stocking levels between 1989 and 2001 forest inventory results.

Dr Adam said through out the world, communities were demanding prudent forest management including "forest certification", from forestry authorities.

He said even though Ghana embarked on forest certification almost a decade ago, not a single forest reserve had been certified.

Dr Adam explained that this was due the lack of management plans, legal constraints, non-existence of tested forest management systems and lack of collaboration between forestry institutions for the gathering of information needed to improve forest management systems as well as the lack of commitment from timber utilization contract holders.

He expressed regret that forest reserves continued to be depleted through illegal farming and logging and explained that tress actually fell had since 1994 exceeded the legally fell tress by more than 200 per cent.

Dr. Adam said corruption in the forestry sector was undermining the rule of law, democratic governance and human rights and alleged that forestry personnel were being attacked, maimed or killed by illegal chainsaw operators, farmers and hunters, during surveillance of the forests.

He called on security personnel to enforce laws on the forest to stop illegal chainsaw operations and farming at forest reserves, which had created conflicts between some communities and forestry personnel.

Mr. Eric Opoku, Deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, appealed to the people to support government to protect the environment, particularly the forest from destruction and expressed worry that the practice has assumed an alarming dimension in the country.

Source: GNA

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