By Nicholas Osei-Wusu
The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu, has joined many other dignitaries from the Ashanti region and beyond to participate in this year’s ‘Greening Ghana’ programme aimed at protecting the country against environmental degradation and the harsh effects of the changing weather.
He was joined by the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources in charge of Forestry, Mr. Benito Owusu Bio.
Others who also took part in the exercise include the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah; the Kumasi Metropolitan Chief Executive, Samuel Pyne; and his counterpart at the Asokore Mampong Municipality, Kennedy Kankam.
There were also officials from the Forest Research Institute of Ghana of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, among other public and civil servants.
The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu, was the first among the participating officials to plant an Achee Apple known in Akan as ‘Akye’ with the botanical name of ‘Biighia sapila’, while the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Benito Owusu Bio, planted a ‘Weeping Willow’ at the Royal Golf Club in Kumasi to commemorate ‘Greening Ghana’ Day.
In a remark, Mr. Owusu thanked Otumfuo Osei Tutu for his commitment to the various initiatives of the government to restore and protect the environment, including the fight against illegal mining, also known as ‘galamsey’.
“President of the Republic has set a national target of 10 million trees. This means we expect to plant at least 10 million trees on this day, and Asanteman has always risen to the challenge,” the Deputy Lands Minister noted.
Even before the central government’s afforestation programme, the Ashanti Regional Coordinating Council, in partnership with the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, has been undertaking the ‘Keep Kumasi Clean and Green’ initiative in an effort to restore the city to its former glory as ‘the Garden City’ as well as position Kumasi as a climate resilient city with various activities, including the planting of assorted ornamental plants across the city.
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah, told GBC that as part of measures to nurture and maintain the trees planted, the Regional Coordinating Council is encouraging the various local Assemblies to strictly enforce their by-laws against stray animals, which have been identified as major threat to the survival of the trees planted.
He warned, “Sooner or later, we’re going to come up with a policy where if you leave your animals to stray, they’d be arrested, put somewhere, and you’d come and pay money before we released them to you. If after three days you don’t pay, we’ll slaughter them and give them to prisoners for them to use as food. They’re also helping to clean the city.”
This year, the government has set out to plant a total of 10 million seedlings, with the Ashanti region given two-point-five million as its quota to plant.