International Forests Day : “Every time we cut a tree, we should replace it”

Cameroon’s minister of Forestry and Wild life says consistent tree planting remains the best way out of rampant deforestation in the country.

Minister Jules Doret Ndongo insists that “a forest is a pharmacy, a shelter and a restaurant, so every time we cut down a tree, we should replace it.”

In a ceremony to mark the 2023 International Forest Day at the Elig-Essoni Government Bilingual High School Yaounde, on March 21, Minister Ndongo was clear that the forest represents everything for Cameroonians. He says youths need to be educated on the importance of tree planting.

Prime Minister, Chief. Dr. Joseph Dion Ngute was represented at the ceremony by the Minister of State, Minister of Higher Education, Prof. Jacques Fame Ndongo.

Prof. Jacques Fame Ndongo was personal representative of the Prime Minister

Holding on the theme “Forests and health”, the event in Yaounde was attended amongst others by a host of ministers who all took part in a symbolic tree-planting exercise, paving the way for the youths to follow suit.

This comes at a time the Food and Agriculture Organization FAO estimates that some 50,000 plant species are used for medicinal purposes across the world. A 2020!FAO report also says “a study from 43 000 households across 27 countries in Africa found the dietary diversity of children exposed to forests was at least 25% higher than that of children who were not.”

Despite these benefits, forests remain endangered by wild fires, pests, droughts and human activity especially deforestation.

Government Fights Deforestation

Fighting climate change, preserving the forest, educating youths on the importance of planting trees and the reduction of biogas production are some key measures government is banking on to cut down on deforestation.

The Cameroon government believes that healthy forests play an important role in poverty alleviation, provide food, medicine, wood, and can also contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“We have put in place a national afforestation program to cover all the territory from Far North to the South. But it’s expensive so we have solicited help from the Ministry of Finance and Our partners to find funding for us,” Forestry and wild life minister said.

He adds that government has also made the education of the public on forest management and its varied uses priority.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed March 21 as the International Day of Forests in 2012. The Day was instituted to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests.


Kathy Neba Sina

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