The Plantation business, be it rubber production, palm oil production, timber spices, among others is fraught with high risks, making investors drag their feet venturing into it, according to Mr. Raphael Yeboah, Executive Director of the Forest Services Division of the Forestry Commission.
At an end-of-year interaction with the media in Accra, Mr. Yeboah cited encroachment by illegal miners and chain saw operators as a major challenge to the commission. In addition, he noted that due to budgetary constraint, the commission was unable to deal with the situation.
He also announced that four local companies were contracted as part of the commission's strategy to plant more trees at designated areas. However, due to lack of funds, 100,000 ha a year was developed, instead of 200,000 ha a year by ECOTEC and Zoomlion. The contract with ECOTEC and Zoomlion has since been abrogated, he added.
The contract was abrogated because the commission deemed it economically prudent to withdraw ECOTEC and Zoomlion and took responsibility for the development of the project.
Mr Yeboah expressed regret that since 2013 the commission has not received any fund from the government to even maintain the 300,000 ha.
He said because of the current expensive nature of plantation development, from 2002 until now, the Commission has been able to establish 140,000 ha of plantations in the country with other local commercial developers doing about 20,000 ha.
The commission now has a responsibility to restore about 400,000 hectares of degraded forest reserves across the country, he added.