The Forestry Commission says it is set to roll out a nationwide afforestation program to plant trees to recover depleted vegetation.
The Commission is in the process to secure financial clearance from the Finance Ministry to employ 50,000 people for the initiative.
Chief Executive, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, says all logistics to ensure effective work have been procured.
Introduction of foreign tree species like Gmelina, Eucalyptus and Acacia to complement the popular teak, is considered a big boost.
Ghana’s forest cover has been reduced from 8.2 million hectares in 1980s to 1.6 million hectares presently.
Up to 60, 830 people have so far applied for the Afforestation module of the Youth Employment Agency to be managed by the Forestry Commission.
Ashanti Region tops the applicantion list with 11,434, followed by Brong Ahafo’s 7, 478.
Western and Northern Regions have 6, 322 and 5, 299, respectively, while Upper West Region accounts for 797.
Concerns about the swelling numbers above the projected 50,000 are being addressed by the Commission, as Mr. Owusu Afriyie explains.
“We believe that not all of them [beneficiaries] might take the job to undertake the program. Indeed some areas, we heard that they have been engaged in other programs and so some of them are also not coming. We are also taking out names of people who are over aged. For instance, some of the applicants are about 80 years old.”
According to Mr. Owusu Afriyie, the Commission will use its experienced staff for monitoring and supervision of program.
“Experience is that, if we use people that we have employed to be the supervisors, we may not get the effective supervision that we will need. We are using the YEA [Youth Employment Agency] module, their payments into the bank accounts would be strictly done by our finance guys.”
He announced all was set for the full rollout of the programme.
“We are ready to work and to learn lessons that may arise but by and large, we are determine to start. The uniforms are ready, their cutlasses are ready; boots are ready, raincoats are ready. So I think we are battle ready,” Mr. Owusu Afriyie said