Stakeholders in forestry have been tasked to take immediate steps to secure forests and services derived from them.
They were to do so by balancing the country’s needs for essential forest services with the extent of damage caused by our dependence on forest resources.
This was contained in the International Day of Forests (IDF) statement issued by TropenbosGhana, an Environmental NGO, and copied to the Ghanaian Times in Accra.
The NGO indicated that this year’s IDF theme, “Forests and Sustainable Production and Consumption,” was timely as it heightened sustainable interconnections between forests, production and consumption systems.
“To this effect, Tropenbos Ghana brings to bear the importance, and interdependence between local communities and forests, and the need to minimise actions destructive to forests and trees resources, while enhancing efforts to restore, and improve forest conditions in Ghana.”
It has, therefore, recommended that cocoa-forest landscapes, Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and Licensed Cocoa Buying Companies should speed up processes for production, trade and consumption of legal and sustainable cocoa only.
“Sourcing cocoa from sustainable and legal sources only will serve as disincentive for encroaching on forests lands for cocoa production,” it added.
Meanwhile, the environmental NGO said that action should be complemented by addressing other factors, including illegal logging, bushfires, illegal mining and others which threatened forest and associated resources.
It also said local and international chocolate producers and consumers should pay more for sustainably produced cocoa.
More so, it encouraged stakeholders to adopt an integrated approach to minimise incidence of wildfires in forested areas.
“Stakeholders including the Forestry Commission, Ghana National Fire Service, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana Police Service, Traditional Authorities, Municipal and District Assemblies, Communities and Private entities should inclusively and collaboratively design and adopt effective and efficient wildfire management approaches,” the statement said.
BY TIMES REPORTER