Let’s Preserve the Ecosystem – Professor Asare Opoku

by Kofi Ayim

Professor Kofi Asare Opoku, a retired college professor, has pleaded as a matter of urgency for Ghanaians and Africans to protect and preserve their natural habitats. He decried the consistent and gradual depletion of hitherto fallow natural habitats bequeathed to contemporary Ghanaians by their ancestors. In an interview with Amandla, the former professor at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania pointed out that in the U.S. and other ad- vanced countries, no one could enter any forest either for game or chop down trees with impunity. “They know and appreciate the value of nature; they therefore preserve it through controlled mechanisms.” He cited hunting programs across the U.S. as examples. Prof. Opoku said it was unconscionable for Ghanaians to have stood aloof while their water bodies were being polluted, especially by foreign nationals engaged in illegal mining.

Professor Opoku, who is a well-known traditionalist and naturalist, has created a three-acre village known as Ananse Akuraa (Anane’s Village) at Akuapem Mampong in the Akuapem Hills, about 35 miles north-east of Accra. It was carved out of a 39-acre virgin forest he has named Ananse Kwae (Ananse’s Forest). He started both farmlands in 1969. Ananse Akuraa has been a popular learning and tourist attraction for some higher educational institutions in the U.S. They include Drew, Temple, and the University of North Carolina as well as Moorehouse Medical School. Among the herbal trees are xylopia (hwentia), tetrapleura tetrapera (prekese), adan- sonia gregorii (baobab), jathropa, moringa, osmium (nunum), mimosa, synsepa- lum dulcificum (asoa), jacaranda and many more. The 83-year old professor knows all the medicinal benefits of every tree, plant, shrub and greenery on the farmland. “I want to follow my ancestors’ immeasurable knowledge and wisdom and pass on what I have learned to the next generation,” he stressed.

On the other hand, rare and unique species of plants and animals are found in the large and dense Ananse Kwae. The forest, according to the affable professor, is being threatened by encroachers who sneak in mainly at night to hunt down wild animals and engage in other illegal activities. He opined that it is prudent and just for gov’t and non-government environmental agencies to keep keen eyes and interest in natural environments that are now in private hands because they could be mutually beneficial to posterity. “So far none has shown interest,” he said with a resigned mood. “Ananse Kwae is my gift to Ghana and the World. When all forests are depleted of their natural contents, it will be there for generations to come,” he predicted.

Posted by on Dec 12 2017. Filed under top stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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