The Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, responsible for Lands and Forestry, Hon. Benito Owusu-Bio, has disclosed that 72% of seedlings planted during the 2022 Green Ghana tree planting exercise has survived.
According to him, this statistic is as a result of a report submitted to the Lands Ministry by the Forestry Commission detailing the verification assessment of trees planted during the years under review. He revealed this when he took a tour of the Greater Accra Region to monitor seedlings planted by associations, institutions, the Ministry and the Forestry Commission during the Green Ghana Project.
Mr Owusu-Bio assured Ghanaians and taxes payers that all monies invested into procuring Green Ghana Seedlings have been judiciously utilized as most of the seedlings planted during the 2021- 2022 Green Ghana Day planting exercises are surviving.
“Earlier, we disclosed a survival rate of 80%. However, due to weather conditions and other factors, currently seedlings planted in 2021 has a survival rate of 67%; and 2022, 72% survival and that is good progress because no matter what, we will not be able to achieve 100% survival.”Benito Owusu-Bio
Furthermore, the Deputy Lands Minister dismissed claims circulating in the media space about government’s unpaid debt of GHC2.3 billion to Green Ghana Seedling providers after the planting exercises.
Deputy lands minister assures payment of debt for seedlings
Addressing the media on a site monitoring tour of some Green Ghana seedlings planted in selected areas of the Greater Accra Region, Mr Owusu-Bio stressed that “there is no such thing as GHC2.5 billion debt”. He explained that even the funds allocated by government for Green Ghana was not that much.
“What we actually owe our seedlings providers is an amount of 28 million Ghana cedis which will soon be cleared.”Benito Owusu-Bio
Mr Owusu-Bio sent out a word of assurance to the seedlings providers that talks are already underway with the Finance ministry to settle all Green Ghana debts owed and will personally ensure that these conversations are fast tracked.
Additionally, he noted that he was impressed with how well the seedlings have grown so well so far, applauding the Forestry Commission for ensuring that foresters nurtured the Green Ghana seedlings to maturity.
The Deputy Minister subsequently urged all Ghanaians who planted some of the seedlings in their homes and farms to ensure they make it an effort in nurturing the seedlings to maturity, while also calling on all and sundry to join the cause and plant the 10,000 seedlings scheduled to be planted this year to help mitigate climate change.
He asserted that the monitoring is part of a buildup of activities towards the Green Ghana Day which he iterated will be on the 9th of June 2023.
The team on the monitoring tour first visited the Seismic Centre at the Ghana Geological Survey, then to three planting sites at Legon campus, through to the Achimota Forest, to the Achimota secondary school and to the JJ Rawlings Foundation guardianship inside the Achimota School.
It will be recalled that the Ashanti Region Seedling Contractors Association on March 23, 2023, called on the government to as a matter of urgency pay the over GHC2.3 billion it owes its members for the supply of seedlings for the tree planting exercise during the Green Ghana Day celebrations for 2021 and 2022.
According to the association, several engagements with the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Forestry Commission for the government to pay them have been unsuccessful despite the many assurances.
The members of the association expressed their frustration as they are constantly harassed by banks they secured loans from to procure the seedlings.
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