Development of Oda Big Tree to commence

CEO of GTDC, Kwadwo Antwi (second from left) and DCE for AMADA (second from right) at the chief's palace

Officials of the Asene-Manso-Akroso District Assembly (AMADA) have said development of the biggest tree in West Africa, Oda Big Tree, will commence in the two next weeks.

This follows the visit to the palace of the Benkumhene of Akyem Kotoku Traditional Area and Chief of Akyem Manso, Obrempong Sintim Poku III, by the Ghana Tourism Development Company (GTDC) to introduce a contractor who will be developing the area to the traditional authorities.

The contractor, Malin Construction Limited, is expected to spend three months in developing the area into a full tourism space. The project scope includes a state-of-the-art entrance, a modern rest stop with restaurant attached, a well paved open space to host events, receptions like wedding, birthday, naming ceremonies and outdooring, church conventions, among others.

The District Chief Executive for the area, Alex Incoom, who confirmed this to the Daily Statesman, said a memorandum of understanding (MOU) is being signed between GTDC, AMADA, the Traditional Council and the Forestry Commission.

Akufo-Addo’s faithfulness

Obrempong Sintim Poku III, speaking to the Daily Statesman on the project, lauded the Akufo-Addo government for being faithful to the people of the area. He said, aside from the development of the big tree into a proper tourism site, the government has given them a new District Assembly; constructing some roads in the area; and giving facelifts to other infrastructural project.

READ MORE:  Outgoing WFP Country Representative bids farewell to Ghana

He described the information about the development of the tree as a “good news”.

“During the erstwhile Kufuor era, the late Jake came to develop the place in a small way but no attention was given to it after they left power. I am happy that we are going back to it again under another NPP government,” Obrempong said.

He assured the contractor that the traditional council will do everything possible to assist him in developing the area.

Daily Statesman’s role

The Daily Statesman in June 2018 raised concerns over the deforestation of the forest in the area around where the big tree is located. When the Daily Statesman visited the locality, huge machines were seen bringing down part of the Essen-Apam forest reserve. Some residents who spoke to us stated that a compartment of the forest reserve had been leased to a company that was bringing down the forest for rubber plantation. They expressed worry that the company may extend the felling down of trees to the part where the Big Tree is located and bring down the landmark.

READ MORE:  Harriet Afriyie Foundation Supports HIV kids Orphanage at Kpando-Konda

This paper followed up to find out from relevant stakeholders what was being done about the tree. Some of the stakeholders contacted included the district assembly, the traditional council, the GTDC, the Forestry Commission, among others.

Kwadwo Antwi, Chief Executive Officer of the GTDC, told us that plans were in place to take over the Big Tree from the Forestry Commission.

Subsequently, in October 2018, this paper visited the area again to find out what was happening. During the visit, the DCE stated that the assembly was scouting for investors to develop the area into a proper tourism hub. Mr Incoom, through the Daily Statesman, pleaded with the Forestry Commission and the GTDC to fasttrack the process in giving the area to the GTDC for the development.

A year later, in September 2019, this reporter did a feature article titled “Giving ‘Oda Big Tree’ Befitting Tourism Status; Time to Walk the Talk”, to lament the seeming neglect of the plan to develop the area.

READ MORE:  THROWBACK: Gov’t needs $200m to renovate all dilapidated schools- Opoku Prempeh

A month later, in October 2019, the Deputy Chief Executive of GTDC, the Eastern Regional Manager of the Forestry Commission and his deputy visited the Chief of Akyem Manso and the Assembly to deliberate on how to develop the Tree. The DCE and the Akyem Mansohene promised their cooperation and support in transforming and enhancing the current status of the Tree into a modern tourist site by the end of 2019.

The big tree

The ‘Oda Big Tree’ is believed to be the biggest tree in West Africa. The tree is of the Bako species and its botanical name is Tieghemela Heckle. It is located at Aprokumase in the Asene Manso Akroso District. Although many believe the tree is located in the Essen-Apam Forest Reserve, documents at the Forestry Commission suggest that the tree stands in the Asuboni Forest reserve. It has a diametre of 3.22 metres at 1.37 metres, 2.72 metres at 3.1 metres, making 12 metres in circumference and 66.5-90 metres tall. Its girth is 10.11 metres at 1.4 metres and 8.63 metres at 3.1 metres. History has it that the tree is over 400 years old.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here