As part of efforts to restore Ghana's degraded landscapes and contribute to global efforts towards the fight against global warming, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources in collaboration with the Forest Plantation Fund Board has begun a two-day sensitization workshop for Asanteman Queen Mothers on Bamboo and Rattan plantation development, motivating them to actively participate in the Green Ghana Day with a 1000 hectares of these plantations.
This workshop comes after the Lands Minister's visit to the Ashanti Region to court support of Queen mothers, on the fight against illegal small-scale mining and a promise to engage them in the 2023 Green Ghana agenda with an initiative of planting bamboos in commercial quantities.
Addressing the Queen mothers at the workshop in Kumasi on Thursday, March 9, 2023, Hon. Benito Owusu-Bio, the Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources responsible for Lands and Forestry, explained the importance of the workshop to Government saying "the Government of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, has recognised the potential of bamboo and rattan resources in improving the livelihoods of hundreds of people that live near forest ecosystems, combating climate change and addressing the challenges of deforestation and forest degradation in Ghana"
He further elaborated that the workshop among other things will provide the Queen mothers with good knowledge and insight on the extent to which bamboo and rattan resources in Ghana can sustain the livelihoods of communities and the enormous opportunities that exit to create jobs especially for women and the youth.
He also opined that the outcome of the workshop is very critical as it will increase the number of stakeholders engaged in government efforts to meet the planting targets in the country’s Forest Plantation Strategy, which seeks to establish over 500,000 hectares of new bamboo plantations between 2015 -2040.
The Deputy Minister assured the Queen mothers that the maiden sensitization programme is just a pilot and the Ministry will mobilize additional resources to ensure that the programme reaches other regions so as to maximise the benefits of the bamboo industry.
"I wish to assure you of the unflinching support of my Minister and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to support this initiative. We will do our maximum best to provide the necessary technical and logistical support to promote this bamboo plantation development enterprise"
Hon. Benito Owusu-Bio relished the opportunity to encourage all Queen mothers in the country to support the government’s agenda in the fight against deforestation and forest degradation, especially the fight against galamsey which has resulted in heavy pollution of water bodies across all mining communities in the country.
"The fight is not for only government institutions but a collective responsibility from all" he charged.
He also urged the Forestry Commission, the Director of International Association of Bamboo and Rattan Development (INBAR) and the Plantation Fund Board to continue to provide the support required to ensure the success of the programme.
The Deputy Minister illustrated some unique benefits of Bamboo; bamboo is unique in job creation along the value-chain, it provides alternative livelihoods, it is suitable for reclaiming degraded lands, it is excellent in conserving watersheds, it meets the country’s huge demand for wood fuel, handicrafts, furniture, materials for housing and also very important for climate change mitigation.
The Queen mother of the Mampong, Traditional Area, Nana Agyakuma Difie II and Chairman at the event gave a hearty speech of appreciation to the Ministry, the Minister Hon. Samuel A. Jinapor, and the Plantation Fund Board for keeping to their word and making such an important project possible for them.
Adding that "I see as a “dream come true”. I am most grateful to the Minister and his Deputy for the recognition of the Queen mothers as a major stakeholder in this area of bamboo enterprise development"
The Mamponghemaa charged the Queen Mothers to see this opportunity as a responsibility to their children and generations to come as this she said will help contribute to reduction in global warming and also contribute to government’s reafforestation agenda.
She stressed that the bamboo project is not only for the Ashanteman Queen mothers but for all Queen mothers and women in traditional authorities across country, while urging them to take it up and make it a reality.
She then assured the Lands Minister, the Ministry and the Plantation Fund Board of their commitment to the course but asked for the support of the Ministry to get a ready market for the bamboo project else their toil will be in vain.
The Board Chairman of the Forestry Plantation Fund Board, and Chief of Chiraa Traditional Area, Nana Osei Yaw Barima in his statement promised a collaborative and smooth partnership with the Queen mothers to ensure that the bamboo project is a resounding success.
Mr. Joseph Osiakwan, the Technical Director for Forestry at the Ministry who gave a short presentation on the rationale for the workshop hoped that by the end of the two-day workshop, Queen mothers will have indept knowledge on how to plant bamboo, cultivate it and make relevant products which has commercial value from the bamboo plant.
The opening session of the workshop saw an exhibition and Technical presentations on Bamboo from Mr. Michael Y Kwaku, the Regional Director for INBAR West Africa, who schooled the Queen mothers on Bamboo and it's uses, Bamboo cultivation and plantation management, Bamboo plantation funding and financial management.
The Queen mothers after each presentation took turns to ask questions and further discuss issues that bothered their minds.
The opening session of the Bamboo and Rattan plantation development workshop also saw colorful representation and participation from various Queen mothers drawn from Ashanti Bono, Ahafo, Bono East, and Adansi Regions.