Apinto Gyasehene proposes tax rebate for institutions to grow more trees seedlings

The Gyaasehene of Apinto Division in the Western Region, Nana Dr Adarkwa Bediako III, has proposed a tax rebate for people and institutions who grow more trees and harvest carbon dioxide in Ghana.

He added that, the policy should not be a “talking-shop,” but a deliberate plan to also grow the cash economy, saying “We’re hoping that companies like Gold Fields Ghana will actually invest in this project.”

Nana Bediako made the suggestion at a tree seedling planting event organised by Gold Fields Ghana Ltd  to mark this year’s Green Ghana Day under the theme “Mobilising for a greener future” at New Atuabo,  near Tarkwa, in the Western Region, on Tuesday.

He stressed that “companies can actually buy into this project and sell carbon under a tax rebate policy. This will rather encourage people to plant more trees. Let’s go the extra mile, Green Ghana is not just planting trees. I believe companies will take it more seriously than they are doing.”

Nana Bediako continued: “This tax policy is certainly important, because we need to find ways to sustain this Green Ghana project, and sustainability is key, it’s about getting corporate institutions to actually invest in it. You know, in the western world, now, carbon is for sale.”

Calling on Forestry Commission to make available more tree seedlings to the communities, he cautioned society against indiscriminate burning of trees, adding “the older the trees, the more and better quality carbon we’ll harvest for the cash economy.”

Apinto Gyaasehene pledged the leadership commitment to mobilise communities to make sure that the 20 million trees target was achieved.

The Municipal Forestry Officer of Forest Commission (FC), Vincent Appiah, also expressed concerns about trends of climate change in Ghana, and their effects on weather patterns and droughts.

He also noted that traditional concepts of conservation could be adopted to save the forest from depletion, adding that “we need community collaboration and action.”

Mr Appiah said “Whenever you are farming, you don’t cut the trees. They have spiritual and economic importance. But, we need also to empower individuals to own trees and improve our carbon harvest in our communities.”

He announced that the Tarkwa Forest District would distribute 300,000 tree seedlings including economic trees in the Tarkwa-Nsuaem, Prestea, Ellembelle, Jomoro and Nzema East and hope would exceed target by 344,000.

The Regional Manager, Sustainable Development at Gold Fields Ghana, Dr Jones Martey, reported that between 2001 and 2021, the Western Region had lost about 499,000 hectare of tree cover.

He said “In 2010, Ghana had 7million hectares of natural forest, extending over 30 percent of its land area. In 2021, it lost 101,000 hectares, equivalent to 62.9 metric tonnes of Carbon Dioxide (C02) emissions. From 2001 to 2021, Ghana lost 1.41 million hectares of tree cover equivalent to 20 per cent decrease in tree cover since 2000 and 740 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions.”

 Globally, Dr Martey added, pressure on natural resources had affected the well -being of about 3.2 billion people, fuelling poverty and food insecurity, saying that, tree planting was a remarkable solution “to restore the ecosystem, provide food and medicine and creating economic opportunities.”

FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, NEW ATUABO

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