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Five CREMAs inaugurated at Ainyinase   
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The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources would launch a national afforestation programme early next year to increase the country's forest cover, Mr Henry Ford Kamel, a Deputy Minister at the Ministry, announced on Wednesday.

He was inaugurating five Community Resource Management Areas (CREMA) to protect wildlife and forest resources around the Ankasa Conservation Area at Ainyinase in the Ellembele District.

The CREMAs are in Fia, Ohiammadwen-Fiasoro, Aiyinasi Ayawora, Tweakor-Navarongo and Ghana Nungua-Coco Town communities,

Mr Kamel said the afforestation would initially be implemented in 100 districts and would offer employment to some 300 people.

He said the programme would be undertaken in all districts by 2011 and about 500 jobs would be generated at that time.

Mr Kamel said trees would be planted during the programme and appealed to traditional rulers to release lands for the project.

He said the main goal of the CREMA project is to empower local people by providing them with the necessary support, to enable them to participate in natural resources management, using both indigenous and modern technology.

Mr Kamel said the concept of communities managing their wildlife resources through CREMAs, is a significant demonstration of the Government's desire to devolve management authority to local communities, to manage their resources.

He said his Ministry would continue to work through the Forestry Commission, to strengthen and build the capacity of recognized community institutions, to sustainable manage their natural resources.

Mr Kamel urged the Wildlife Division to continue to provide the appropriate support to the CREMAs, to enable them function effectively.

He asked the CREMAs to work hard and also draw support from all sections of their communities, to enable them realize the goals and objectives set in their constitution.

Mr Kamel said the CREMA is not a ploy by Government to annex more lands, but a strategy to collaborate with all stakeholders for the benefit of the country.

He called on district assemblies to work with the CREMAs to enact and pass bye laws, to strengthen the enforcement of the rules and regulations enshrined in their respective constitutions effectively.

Mr Kamel thanked the European Commission for their interest and support for the implementation of various projects in the Wildlife Division.

Later, he presented certificates of devolution of management authority for the implementation of the CREMAs to their executives committees.

Nana Nsiah, Executive Director of the Wildlife Division, said the Ankasa Conservation Area is a largely untouched evergreen rainforest and the country's most biologically diverse and internationally important protected area with more than 800 species of plants including some endemics ones.

He said the area is endowed with rare and endemic fauna such as 68 species of mammals, more than 180 species of birds and 600 species of butterflies.

Nana Nsiah said the Ankasa Resource Reserve with the Nini Suhien National Park is fringed by more than thirty local communities, and wildlife resources have been especially important for the livelihood of people.

He said in the process of utilizing the resource to meet a range of socio-economic needs, the wildlife resources have been severely depleted.

Nana Nsiah said the CREMA concept is based on the establishment of areas where wildlife management is incorporated into existing land use.

He said the Wildlife Division currently has a collaborative Resource Management Unit, spearheading the development and establishment of CREMAs throughout the country.

Source: GNA

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