The Secretary of the Bole Youth for Peace and Development Mr Haruna Abudulai Obey has called on the people of Gonjaland to be circumspect in theie “attacks on Gonja Chiefs over charcoal burning and logging”.
Mr Abudulai said in as much as people are looking forward to a lasting solution to combat indiscriminate tree felling and Commercial Charcoal burning in the Gonja Kingdom (Savannah Region), there is the need for us to be mindful of the important role Palaces play in the region instead of dragging their good name into the mud.
“There is more to it than what we are thinking. We must admit that some Traditional Areas are doing their best in the fight against charcoal burning but we can’t generalized the whole Gonjaland”; he said.
The Secretary of the Bole Youth for Peace and Development said there are so many factors on why many ban of charcoal burning and logging letters issued by Jakpa Palace (Gonja King Yagbonwura’s Palace) and some Palaces in the Gonja area failed.
“Some of the reasons are Lack of education; poverty, Greed; Lack of jobs for the Youth & Women; the Love for quick money; Lack of control of the land by some chiefs, unknown settlers and so on”.
Haruna Obey said Chiefs, Politicians, stakeholders, Opinion leaders, the Youth must all come together to fight for a better tomorrow and stop the blame game.
He said a study on the economic importance of charcoal to rural livelihoods has shown that charcoal is the second primary source of income after crop production, and accounts for 17% of total household income in the region.
According to him;
“This Charcoal business in recent times provided significant cash incomes to the highest income households and its production appears to be the most frequently mentioned coping strategy against shocks associated with crop failure, illness and cattle invasion”.
Haruna Obey said recent checks portray charcoal production as an important livelihood option for rural households (women/youth) with 35% of charcoal producers in the forest savannah zone of Ghana depending entirely on charcoal for household income.
“I therefore recommend that policy makers should identify and target the poor in any pro-poor natural resource based interventions to avoid elite capture by the rich”; he said.
He concluded by saying; “The restructuring of the Committees should include the Paramount chiefs of the various Traditional areas, Forestry commission, Game and Wildlife Division, Police, leadership of GPRTU, and the media and when this is done things will get better”.