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Shea Network Ghana calls for law to protect shea trees


The National Coordinator of Shea Network Ghana (SNG), Mr. Zakaria Iddi has called for the establishment of a specific regulation and synthesis of all laws for the management and protection of shea trees and other non-forest economic trees in the North as the forestry commission ACT 1999 (571) was not comprehensive.
According to him, the thousands of residents within the three northern regions, parts of the Brong Ahafo and Volta regions depend on the shea sector as their main source of livelihood in the face of several challenges and the wanton destruction of these trees for charcoal, firewood, plantation crops, infrastructure and construction was a the major challenge affecting the sector.
He noted further the destruction of these non timber forest resources and economic trees such as shea, dawadawa and baobab threatens livelihood of many and impacts negatively to climatic change that unfortunately affects residents within the fragile ecological zone.
Mr. Iddi made the call in a press release copied to Zaa News to commemorate this year’s World Environment Day.
He observed the unavailability of harmonized and precise regulations to protect shea parklands were the reasons for which the destruction was assuming an alarming proportion that further threatens the continual survival of these trees.
He disclosed that Shea Network Ghana (SNG) with funding from the Business Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund commissioned a study which sought to find out the effectiveness of the Forestry Commission ACT 1999 (571) of Ghana and identify its weakness in coverage for protection of Non Timber Forest Products (NTFPs).
He revealed the non inclusion of non-timber forest resources in Act 1999 (571) for effective management, development and protection accounted for the lapse leading to the indiscriminate felling of these trees lamenting the ACT establishing the Forestry Commission as a corporate body mandated it to only regulate the utilization of forest and timber resources, to manage forest reserves and protected areas, to assist the private sector to implement the Forest and Wildlife Policy and to undertake the development of plantations.
The National Coordinator said the study also revealed that eventhough several operational manuals and Acts have been developed for tree protection; they were uncoordinated requiring a well-established law for shea protection and appealed to Districts Assembly and traditional authorities to ensure the enforcement bye laws, taboos and conventions for the protection of shea and other economic trees.
He observed the high demand for charcoal, high use of fuel wood and the limited livelihood alternatives among rural women in the north during the dry season contributes to its destruction and therefore called on stakeholders to intensify education on the dangers that such destruction will have on communities.
He recommended efforts be made to assist District Assemblies to develop and gazette their respective by-laws as well as carried out community level sensitization to ensure protection of the shea tree is a collective responsibility of community members.
Shea Network Ghana (SNG) a Local Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) with funding from the Business Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund has its head office in Wa in the Upper West Region of Ghana operating with three focal organizations in the three Northern Regions and value chain actors and stakeholders engaged in the shea sector in Ghana with 45 member organisations, 219 co-operative societies, 4 large international shea buyers, 5 cosmetic and brand companies. Since inception SNG has improved the quality of nuts in Ghana among some 16,000 women in over 300 communities and represents Ghana in the Global Shea Alliance.


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