Mr. Speaker. I rise to associate myself with the Statement which my brother has just made.
Mr. Speaker, this Statement is something that we all have to take very seriously in view of the fact that every activity that man does is done on this earth, and for that matter anything that threatens the land which we all live on must be taken seriously.
Mr. Speaker, I think there are enough laws regarding the utilization of the land that we have, except that they are not being enforced the way they should be. The District Assemblies, the various agencies that have been put in place to make sure that lands are not degraded, to me, are not living up to their task. I think it is time that we all came together to see what could be done to make sure that our lands are protected.
Coming from what he said and looking at the history that he has given, that about half of our agricultural land is under threat, Mr. Speaker, I think that if we are not careful -- now we are buying maize at ¢750,000.00 per bag and even though people are interested in trying to farm to raise the acreage so that we can have plenty of maize on the market, we can be sure that in a lot of the areas that farming
is taking place, yields are getting very bad; these may be some of the reasons. It is not, therefore, surprising that this year prices of foodstuffs continue to rise.
Mr. Speaker, I think that the Government must also be serious and have a deliberate policy towards the agro-forestry sector where, I think, incentives must be given to agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and individuals who are interested in going towards that area so that we can at least plant more trees and make sure that we protect our vegetative cover.
Mr. Speaker, I think sand-winning in the Greater Accra Region, we can say, constitutes a threat to the degradation of land, and coming from a constituency that is partly degraded as a result of sand-winning, I think that we also have to be very serious and make sure that we empower the District Assemblies so that they can police the various areas where sand-winning is taking place.
Mr. Speaker, I think it is the right time that the Statement has been made and I implore all my hon. Brothers and Sisters on both sides of the House to embrace the Statement and include it in whatever package that they have in their constituencies so that, together, we can protect our vegetative cover.
With these few comments, Mr. Speaker, I say once again, thank you. I am very happy that the Statement has been made at the right time.
Mr. Stephen Kunsu (NDc --
Kintampo North): Mr. Speaker, I rise to associate myself with the Statement made by the hon. Member for Kintampo South.
Mr. Speaker, Ghana's need for pleasure
depends principally on vegetation as more than 60 per cent of the people are farmers, and people whose activities destroy the vegetation on which they live undermine their own means of livelihood. If Ghana is able to utilize its arable land, the rate of poverty will be reduced and Ghana would be extricated from its present economic predicament.
Ghana is the envy of some advanced countries because of the availability of arable land. This rich natural endowment must not be allowed to go waste through barbaric methods of farming.
Mr. Speaker, Kumasi used to be the pride of Ghana in the 1960s for its abundance of trees; no wonder Queen Elizabeth II gave it the title, “The Garden City of West Africa”. Today, the vegetation that attracted Queen Elizabeth II has now been depleted by the effect of urbanization and poor planning.
In conclusion, may I add to the recommendations made by the hon. Member for Kintampo South, that prospective landlords are made to plant trees on their plots as one of the pre- conditions to the granting of building permits.
Examination Leakages in our Universities and other centres