The planting is to be carried out as part of an enormous reforestation programme in the country that aims to help stabilise and rehabilitate 59.2 million ha of damaged forest.

“There is no other way to revitalise our damaged forests, except through programmes such as this,” said Mr Kaban.

Around US$445m will be spent on the programme and seedling contracts will be put out to tender soon, with Mr Kaban calling on farmers and other owners of seedling businesses to prepare themselves.

Timber estate businessmen and forest concession holders will also be involved in the programme, overseeing the reforestation of 350,000ha and 85,000ha respectively.