The Forestry Commission is to release land to corporate and other identifiable bodies afforest ion projects, with introduction of economically viable foreign tree species.
The initiative, according to it's Chief Executive Officer, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie is aim at reclaiming Ghana’s depleted vegetative cover and also bring economic returns.
He says such partnership provide opportunity for mutual benefit for both government and the private sector.
Mr. Owusu Afriyie has been speaking to JoyNews during inspection tour of some plantation sites in Ashanti and Western regions.
The Forestry Commission promises potential investors litigation-free land for medium and large scale tree plantations.
Introduction of foreign tree species like Melina and Kihuhwi from Tanzania to complement the popular teak is considered a big boost.
An average teak plantation for instance, takes between 10 and 20 years to be ready for harvest.
A 256-hectare teak plantation can fetch, at least, 20 million US dollars.
About 7,000 farmers in Atwima Nwabiagya and Mponua districts in Ashanti, Merewa, Manse and Sui in Sewfi Anwiaso and Yiawso districts of the Western Region respectively are already reaping benefits of the Tuangya system.
Local farmers are given land to plant food crops alongside tree species which they partly own.
Nkawie District Forestry Manager, Nana Opoku Bosompem reveals more tree species with high economic have been introduced. Some of these are Gmelina, Kihuhwi, Cederela, among others grow faster than some local tree species.
"This is such an area of value. The attention was on Teak because Teak seems to have the ready market on the international timber trade but for now I can tell you the Melina is leading," he said.
Kwadwo Osei Secretary of a group of over 1,500 farmers in the Atwima Mponua District in the Ashanti Region.
Together with others, he is beneficiary of a 270- hectare plantation.
"It [plantation] has boosted our finances; such that we are able to secure some funds to finance the education of our children. More so renovation of our houses have been carried out and new buildings have started. We are able to procure some properties such as vehicles. Besides, it provide us and our families with food," he revealed.
Mr Owusu Afriyie is upbeat about the investment opportunities in tree plantation.
He wants corporate Ghana, especially, Ghana National Association of Teachers(GNAT), Social Security and National Investment Trust (SSNIT) and private sector in general to explore the huge potential.
"I would wish that Ghanaians take interest [in afforestation]. In other countries, you have ordinary people who invest heavily in afforestation. Ghanaians don't; we want short term investments, short term profits. But this is a long term but it is beneficial so we will take this opportunity to urge Ghanaians to invest with us. GNAT, SSNIT pension funds; some of those monies ought to be invested here."
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