September 23, 2011

The Parliamentary Select Committee on Lands and Forestry in its bid to stop the spate of illegal mining in the various forest reserves has paid a visit to the Sui River Forest Reserve to ascertain the extent of illegal farming and encroachment in the forest.

The five member team was made up of Albert Abongo, Albert Kwasi Zigah, Andrews Adjei-Yeboah, Ofosu Asamoah and Dr Joses Asare-Akoto.

The leader of the delegation Mr Abongo, advised the communities around the reserve not to go beyond the boundaries allocated to them.

He appealed to them to desist from felling trees without the necessary permit from the Forestry Service Division of the Forestry Commission.

He said he was unhappy that the communities were expanding into other areas of the reserve not allocated to them.

Mr Abongo urged the Forest Services Division to frequently interact with the settlers and educate them to do the right thing.

Mr Adjei-Yeboah said the visit of the committee was the result of petitions against encroachment by civil society organizations.

He appealed to the courts to speed up proceedings on the numerous cases of encroachment of forest reserves pending before them.

Mrs Linda Opoku, Western Regional Forestry Officer, proposed the establishment of environmental courts to handle cases of encroachment and illegal farming in forest reserves.

She said re-settlement of communities on the fringes of the reserve would be the best method to check encroachment.