Mr Isaac Fiifi Ntori who is a Project Officer of A Rocha Ghana has condemned the recent surge in cutting of shea trees for charcoal production in some parts of Northern Ghana especially the Savannah Region.
He said “it is very worrying and this needs to be checked”.
A Rocha Ghana is a committed and recognised environmental conservation organisation in Ghana. Being a member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), A Rocha Ghana recognises the inextricable link between modern man and the survival of the earth’s flora and fauna hence work to inspire and empower people for natural resource management through livelihood, advocacy, and interfaith dialogue that hinges on research and education.
A Rocha Ghana works throughout the country to help communities protect some of the most biodiverse and threatened habitats which are the coastal fishing communities who depend on healthy mangroves; communities around Atewa range forest reserve, Lake Bosomtwe and the peoples of the arid savannah surrounding Mole National Park.
Mr Isaac Fiifi Ntori advanced reasons why the Shea tree should be protected by explaining that the African Shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa) is a tree of the family Sapotaceae and the only species in the genus Vitellaria and that the tree grows naturally in the wild in the dry Savannah wood lands.
He said in Ghana, it occurs extensively in the Guinea Savannah and less abundantly in the Sudan Savannah. He further explained that the Shea tree starts bearing its first fruit when it is 10 to 15 years old and resembles a large plum which usually takes 4 to 6 months to ripen.
On the importance of the Shea tree Mr Ntori said globally the products from the shea nut have been significantly used in food, cosmetics and skin pomades as well as in drugs production.
He said women in the Northern part of Ghana have long been engaging in shea nut trade whiles traditionally extract shea butter from the dried kernels for cooking and soap-making.
He made all these submissions through A Rocha Ghana’s Snap for Biodiversity Programme which aims at highlighting the significance of nature and the need to protect it.