…as it joins the world to mark International Day of Forests
The Africa Regional Director of Proforest, Abraham Baffoe, has emphasised that the country’s quest to protect its forests depends hugely on it employing a proper land-use plan. The development and practical implementation of a land use plan, he said, is very important if the country wants to leverage forestry for development and also to protect it.
He said though striking a balance between economic development and forestry conservation is tricky, it is not impossible. Hence, it is necessary to put policies and strategies into action that incorporate both conservation techniques as well as meet the needs of economic development.
“Balancing economic development and forestry protection is a tricky one but it is possible. There has to be a combination of measures to tackle that. One is to improve or intensify production.
We also need laws and policies to protect areas that are designated for permanent forestry. Another very important thing is land-use planning. This will help identify which part of the land should be used for agriculture production and which should be permanent forestry and then laws can put in place to guard those areas,” he said in an interaction with the B&FT ahead of International Day of Forests.
He also urged the private sector to build a united force with government and other stakeholders to address the underlining forces of deforestation which seem to be a huge concern.
Available statistics indicated that Ghana had one of the hig hest deforestation rates in Africa and the world, at two percent per annum, on average losing 135,000 hectares of forest per year as of 2020.
To this end, he called for a concerted effort by stakeholders to address the situation, adding that respective authorities must step up and help restore the country’s forest cover.
The Africa regional director reaffirms Proforest’s commitment to support companies to tackle environmental and social risks in their respective supply chains and also to work with governments and organisations, in order to address systemic issues beyond the supply chain to deliver positive outcomes.
It also hopes to work with companies to implement responsible sourcing and production practices, across a broad range of agricultural commodities and forest products. “Forests must be at the heart of our response to the climate change emergency; they are a natural carbon-capture technology,” he stressed.
As this year’s International Day of the Forests will be commemorated under the theme Healthy Forest, Healthy People, Mr. Baffoe said: “As human beings, we need the trees to survive and by protecting them, we sustain our survival hence government, organisations and individuals must prioritise that.”
Globally, forests provide jobs and livelihoods for 1.6 billion people, including indigenous people. It also provides three-quarters of the earth’s fresh water and is home to 80 percent of the earth’s terrestrial species, including trees and animals.
Proforest is a global mission-driven organisation, focused on the production base and supply chains of agricultural and forestry commodities including soy, sugar, rubber, palm oil, cocoa, coconut, beef, and timber.