Farmers Given Ultimatum To Quit Forest Reserve

Farmers occupying the Boumfum Forest Reserve in the Kumawu and Agogo plains in Ashanti illegally have been ordered to relocate before they are forcibly ejected. Their relocation would enable the Forest Services Division to embark on replanting of trees in the Forest reserve said to have been degraded by activities of the settler farmers. The Assistant Manager of Ashanti Regional Forest Services Division, Mr. Isaac Noble Eshun who issued the directive indicated that the forest which lies between the boundaries of Kumawu and Agogo have been invaded by illegal farmers. Mr. Eshun told The Chronicle in an interview that the FSD is now resourced to undertake the replanting of trees for the carbon production project at the forest, which has been earmarked for carbon production as a source of foreign exchange. According to him, organizations which were contracted under a contract to do the planting previously had failed in the implementation of the project. Mr. Eshun said carbon production needs to commence without delay hence the need for the farmers to leave. The forestry official explained that at a time these organizations contracted to replant tress in the reserve failed to live up to expectation, with local farmers engaged to interplant the trees and their crop within the forest. He said herdsmen and farmers who are not indigenes have since occupied the forest illegally against the forest rules and regulations. Quizzed about the evacuation strategy this time round, Mr. Eshun said: “We will move in and flush them out from the Boumfum Forest Reserve with security personnel if they fail to comply with the directive”. He said remind notice had been served as far back as 2012 but the farmers are adamant hence the current directive and urged the farmers to leave the place voluntarily because the agreement between them and FSD with regards to the replanting of trees has been abrogated. The Deputy Forest Services Division Manager called for the protection of our forests to enjoy the benefits of carbon credit. He said trees in our forest can fetch us carbon credit which can be used to reduce the amount of Green House Gas (GHGs) emissions in the atmosphere besides the generation of huge foreign exchange for the country for which reason protection of our forest must be the concern of all and sundry. According to the FSD official, trees capture carbon out of the atmosphere as long as they are growing, and they store the carbon throughout their lifespan, even after harvest. He said Carbon credits also help lower the costs of renewable and low carbon technologies as well as assisting in the technology transfer to developing countries. Mr. Eshun stated that Carbon Credit can help mitigate Climate Change and it is lucrative also, and called on stakeholders to give support to help bring such initiatives on board. “Ghana can diversify and accumulate carbon and trade in carbon to other countries, and concentrate less on gold,” he noted. Touching on the crusade against illegal mining, illegal farming and indiscriminate felling of trees in some forests in the Ashanti Region, the FSD manager said his outfit would not relent in the fight against illegal mining and other unapproved practices in our forests. Mr. Noble Eshun said the situation whereby the FSD need to consult the Regional Security Group (RESEG) before the military and police augment the Rapid forestry security team is cumbersome thus stalling the operations of the Rapid Response team of the forestry Service. He, however, commended the Military and the Police for their support to the FSD to rid the forests of illegal miners, farmers and indiscriminate feeling of trees in some forests.