The Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources responsible for Lands and Forestry, Benito Owusu-Bio, has disclosed that government is making efforts to conserve the Achimota forest.
Benito Owusu-Bio stated that aside the afforestation drive by government, conserving the forest is also a priority contrary to the reports being circulated.
“There is a need for us to make sure that we reforest it for it to look as a typical forest and that effort is ongoing. With all such developments, why would we want to sell the Achimota Forest?”Benito Owusu-Bio
Speaking to the media during a tour of the Forest, on Thursday 19th May 2022, Benito Owusu-Bio revealed that as part of efforts to upgrade the forest, government has intentions to revamp the forest into a national park where Ghanaians can visit to enjoy the beauty of nature, as seen in other parts of the world.
The Deputy Minister stated that different species of trees including Melina trees have been planted to give a boarder view to the forest reserve and protect it from intruders and also make it much greener.
The Deputy Minister reaffirmed government’s resolve to protect the Achimota Forest. He said: “We want Ghanaians to understand that the Achimota Forest has not been sold. It is intact and we are even making more efforts to make sure that it becomes something that we know. The Achimota Forest has not been sold, it’s not for sale and will not be sold. It is intact.”
Forest remains integral part of government’s plan
Benito Owusu-Bio posited that the Achimota Forest remains an integral part of government’s plan to protect the ecosystem and the vegetative cover of the country. He noted that moving forward, all prospective plans of government regarding the Achimota Forest will be handled with utmost transparency and integrity.
The Deputy Minister indicated that the Forest itself has not been declassified except the peripherals which the Owoo family is constitutionally entitled to by law. According to him, given the monetary value of the parcel of land, government would have paid more in compensation to the custodial owners of the portions in EI 144.
“Government is also committed to ensuring that whatever happens to the peripheral potions of the land, did not affect the ecological integrity of the forest.”Benito Owusu-Bio
Also Speaking during the tour and media engagement, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Forestry Commission, Mr. John Allotey, stated that the trees in the Achimota Forest could be classified as shrubs but the Commission through the Youth in Afforestation Program have been planting trees since 2017 to make it “a real forest reserve”.
The Forestry Commission CEO averred that he is dismayed over reports suggesting that Achimota forest reserve is being depleted contrary to efforts made by the Commission to boost the reserve.
“Achimota forest, this is the way it is. This is the way we found it and we are now planting trees to get a good stem and go. We are looking for lanes to plant trees and space them to the extent that when the canopies develop, they will become trees. Because of the biodiversity, there are some animals which feed on these shrubs so we don’t want to also clear all of them.”Mr John Allotey