Timber contractors and Saw millers in Kogi on Tuesday said they had embarked on regeneration programme through massive tree planting as part of measures to address forest decline.
Hon. Ali Ebiloma, Kogi East Zonal Chairman of the Timber Contractors Association who spoke newsmen in Idah disclosed that the resolution was to fulfill part of the conditions given by the State Government for lifting the ban on logging in the state.
Ebiloma said that Governor Idris Wada had directed as part of the reforms and conditions for lifting the ban that for each tree felled, 10 plant seedlings be planted in replacement in line with the state afforestation programme aimed at forest decline.
He revealed that the seedlings would be purchased with resources from the Forestry Trust Fund being annual contributions from the contractors and lodged with the state Board of Internal Revenue account.
The Zonal Chairman said that seedlings for the regeneration programme due to commence in June and to last through out the rainy season, were being sourced were being sourced through the Forestry Department of the state Ministry of Agriculture.
Ebiloma said a day in each month of the rainy season had been set aside for all the 400 timber contractors from the 21 Local Government Areas of the state to plant 10 tree seedlings per head.
The seedlings, he said, would be purchased with resources from the Forest Trust Fund account which was resuscitated this year.
Ebiloma commended Governor Idris Wada for the reforms in the forestry sector saying that the concession of the management of forest reserves to a consultant was a right step in the right direction.
In line with government reforms in the sector he said, the population of Timber Contractors in the state had been pruned down from 500 to 400 with each Local Government producing 20 with the exception of Ogori-Magongo which had no forests.
It would be recalled that after almost one year of inactivity as a result of the ban on logging in the state, Wada only last week, after an exhaustive meeting with executive members of the association from the three senatorial districts, lifted the ban.
“I have nothing against the timber association or logging, what my administration is putting in place is not about today but the future. We have a responsibility to protect our environment for future generations”, the governor had said.