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Regional News of Saturday, 23 February 2008

Source: GNA

Volta Region is most wildfire prone region in Ghana

Nkwanta, (V/R), Feb. 23, GNA - Satellite images have shown that the Volta Region is the most wildfire prone region in Ghana. This has necessitated the extension of the comprehensive Wildfire Management Project (WFMP), hitherto limited to the transitional zone of Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo regions, to the Volta Region. Mr Oheneba Amponsah Agyeman, Co-ordinator, National Wildfire Project, said this at the National Wildfire prevention education campaign in Nkwanta on Friday.

The Nkwanta District and Donkorkrom in the Eastern region would be specifically targeted by the WFMP as "hub centers for the production of most of the country's agricultural produce", Professor Nii Ashie Kotey, Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, said in a speech read for him.

He said the Wildfire Management Project (WFMP) seeks to build public awareness, knowledge and warning systems for fire risk and hazards, to create understanding of fire in farming systems and development of improved systems, establish incentives for reducing fire incidence. The project also seeks to establish green firebreaks and fuel treatment, implement effective fire detection and communication systems and increase capacity for active fire suppression in fringe communities. Professor Kotey said the WFMP aims at improving the economic and social well being of forest dependent communities by rehabilitating fire-degraded forestlands by sustainable management of natural and artificial forests.

Mr Joseph Denteh, the Nkwanta District Chief Executive, expressed his delight at the extension of the WFMP to the district "to help curb the incidence of wildfire, which has become an annual ritual in the region". He said the district had been without electricity for one week now due to the burning of electricity poles by wildfires. Togbui Aklaku Ahorney, Volta Regional Programme Officer of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), suggested the application of indigenous methods that in the past were effective in preventing such destructive fires.

A 15-year-old (1993-2008) Forest Protection and Resource Use Management (FORUM) Project jointly sponsored by the German and Ghana governments in the Volta Region at a cost of 30 million Euros has ended. Under the project 14,212 hectares of degraded forest reserves were rehabilitated.

They were the Kabo River Forest Reserve, Odomi River Forest Reserve, Kpandu-Dayi Block Forest Reserve, Kpando west Block Forest reserve and the Abutia Hills Forest Reserve. That project also established 5,907 hectares of woodlots.

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