The Monarch of the Asante Kingdom, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has launched the 2023 edition of the Green Ghana Day.
The event took place at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) on May 17, 2023.
Present at the event which was held at the Great Hall were the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor and his Deputies, George Mireku Duker and Benito Owusu Bio, Chairperson of the Minerals Commission, Barbara Oteng Gyasi, the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah, vice Chancellor of the KNUST, Prof Rita Akosuah Dickson and other government officials.
Also at the event were traditional rulers, students from various Senior High Schools (SHS), institutions and others.
This year’s Green Ghana Day will be held on Friday, June 9, 2023, under the theme, “Our Forest, Our Health” with a target of 10 million seedlings.
It is estimated that within five years, that is, between 2010 and 2015, a total of 160,210 hectares of forest was lost compared to between 1963 and 2016, a period of 53 years where 157,300 hectares of forest was lost.
The monarch of the Asante Kingdom in his speech highlighted agents that are threatening the country’s green life describing illegal mining as a “headache”.
“The reality, however, is that our forest resources are under serious threat from a range of environmental challenges including illegal mining- the headache of Ghana- illegal logging, forest degradation, climate change, soil erosion loss of soil fertility and many others.
“It is very sad that despite the several measures government has been putting in place to curb this menace, illegal logging and illegal mining continue to pose a threat to our forest. It means that government cannot do it alone we must all get involved and support government to come to grips with these matters.”
In restoring the lost green cover and mitigating the impact of deforestation in the country, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, said, there was the need to create an enhanced national awareness of the necessities in the country, inculcate values for planting and nurturing of trees in citizens, particularly among the younger generation.
“That is why the Green Ghana Day was launched with a day each year set aside for the entire country led by the President of the country to go planting,” he stated.
He also talked of over 690,000 hectares of forest that had been cultivated through initiatives such as the Forest Plantation, Enrichment Planting and Trees on Farm at the end of last year.
Further in his speech, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II expressed his pride in the region’s leadership in tree planting since the inception of the initiative. It is reported that over one million and six million seedlings were planted in the Ashanti region in 2021 and 2022 respectively- the highest across the country.
“Of the over 31 million trees planted over the two years, 7.8 million were planted in this region. I’m even happier to learn that the majority of these trees have survived and are doing well. This year, we have another opportunity to renew our support for this noble course of the Green Ghana Day and the theme chosen for this year- “Our Forest, Our Health”- summarises the importance of the forest to our lives.”
Significance Of Trees
Otumfuo underscored the significance of trees to the existence of mankind and couldn’t agree more with the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, that “to exist as a country, to prosper as a state, live as a people, we must have trees”.
Shedding more light on the theme for this year’s event, the vice Chancellor of the KNUST, prof Akosua Dickson mentioned trees as a source of medicine and food.
“Trees have provided healthy food in the form of vegetables, fruits and what have you to humanity. Our forests have helped to improve the quality of the air that we breathe…I am able to attest to the enormous potential of our forest and our trees in providing medication of various forms to heal and prevent diseases and provide comfort for humanity. A number of conventional medications used today take their lead compound from plants.
“Trees and tree extracts help to control pets with direct and indirect impact on food production. Research has also shown that exposure to trees has a positive impact even on our mental health and wellbeing. And we agree spending time in natural environments such as forests and green parks can significantly reduce stress. Our forest also enormously supports the food chain by the ecological balance for a better environment for both animals and human life.
“The ability to improve and solve the issue of erosion, land degradations and reclamation and soil fertility balance all have direct and indirect benefits to us as humans. Talk about housing, any construction, the book industry, animal husbandry, and what have you. Indeed even the genesis of some love affairs begins under trees.”
Thanking the sector Minister and Planning Committee of the Green Ghana Day for choosing the Ashanti region and specifically Kumasi for the launch, the Regional Minister, Hon Simon Osei Mensah, called the initiative a step in the right direction.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, John Allotey indicated that seedlings will be distributed to various centres for collection by planters two weeks before the slated date and urged Metropolitans, Municipals and District Assembly (MMDA) authorities to make sure seedlings are used for the intended purpose.