Lands Ministry to recruit 1,700 youth for afforestation programme

Mr Benito Owusu-Bio Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources

Mr Benito Owusu-Bio Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources

The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources is to recruit about 1,700 youth in its afforestation programme on reclaimed mining sites in the country.

They would be deployed to the various districts across the country to develop seedlings required by the Forestry Commission, organisations and individuals for the project on reclaimed lands.

According to Benito Owusu-Bio, Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, the programme forms part of the Multi-sectorial Mining Integrated Project (MMIP), initiated by government to restore degraded environment to its natural state.

He was speaking at Dunkwa in the Upper Denkyira East District of the Central Region here yesterday when he inspected palm seedlings nursery by Richie Plantations together with other officials of the Ministry.

The Richie Plantations was supported with GH¢3 million by government through the Minerals Development Fund (MDF) to upscale the production of seedlings for the project.

Government, Mr. Owusu-Bio said would provide support to other organisations which engaged in similar projects in other regions to raise cashew and cocoa seedlings for farmers.

He said the programme would provide alternative livelihoods for illegal miners who had been rendered redundant following government’s moratorium on all forms of small-scale mining activities across the country.

He reiterated government’s commitment to ensure mining was conducted legally and in a sustainable manner.

The Minister noted that government would support other firms undertaking similar projects in other regions to raise cashew and cocoa seedlings for farmers.

Mr Richard Ekow Quansah, the Chief Executive Officer, Richie Plantation Limited, said the company was working towards developing one million palm seedlings for 2018 after it was able to raise 450,000 seedlings in 2017 for distribution to farmers.

Currently, he said the company, which started in 2007 has a workforce of 400 people from about 118 communities in the Central and Western regions adding that about 150 women out of the number were recruited from illegal mining sites.

As part of developing the hybrid palm nuts at its nursery, the CEO said the company would support farmers to clear their lands and prepare them for cultivation.

FROM CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS, DUNKWA ON-OFFIN

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