Ghana’s timber export suffers further decline in 2009

The export of timber products from Ghana has suffered further decline in 2009 following low exports in 2008.

According to the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO), compared to 2008 exports of 430,081 cubic meters for the first nine months of 2008, exports dropped to 320,660 cubic meters in the same period in 2009.

There was also a drop of 32% in revenue compared to the same period in 2008.

Accordingly, exports fell to 25.4% as against 2008 figures. And the ITTO indicates that the drop was largely due to decreased export volumes in all trading products except air dried lumber, curls veneer and plywood.

In 2008 Ghana’s timber export permits also took a slight dip in the third quarter of 2008.

According to data provided by the Timber Industry Development Division (TIDD) of Ghana’s Forestry Commission (FC), the number of export permits vetted, processed, approved and issued to exporters during the third quarter of 2008 was lower than the figure for the first quarter of the same year.

In the third quarter for instance, 2,196 export permits were issued to cover shipment of various timber and wood products through Ghana’s sea ports of Tema and Takoradi.

The data shows that compared to the number of export permits issued in the second quarter of 2008, which totaled 2,319, the third quarter results fell 5.30%.

This decrease could be attributed to the slump in trade due to the summer holidays in the European Union and North America, which are Ghana’s two main markets, according to Fordaq’s website, IHB which manages the leading online market for wood professionals worldwide.

Meanwhile, on November 20, 2009 Ghana became the first country to sign a voluntary partnership agreement with the European Union (EU), which is in keeping with the European Union’s Forest Law Enforcement, Government and Trade (FLEG). The action plan establishes the legal framework of surveillance and monitoring aimed at ensuring that all timber imports into the EU have been acquired, harvested, transported and exported in accordance with the law in Ghana.

The agreement also creates a national legality assurance system for all timber and timber products sold in the EU, on non-EU markets and on the domestic market. It also provides for independent third-party audits of the entire legality assurance system to guarantee credibility and effective verification and licensing.

The first shipments of timber from Ghana licensed under the agreement are expected at the end of 2010. Customs officials in EU Member States will ensure that only timber shipments which meet the legality assurance requirements are imported to the EU. This will give EU operators confidence that all the timber imported from Ghana is of legal origin.

The EU represents the number one export market for Ghana’s timber (43% of the total value of its exports, 33% of volume). Ghana is counting on this agreement to pursue the reform of its forestry sector, to ensure that the sector contributes to poverty alleviation and to promote investment in the sector to ensure the future viability of its forest industry.

Timber is the fourth highest foreign exchange earner for Ghana behind, gold, cocoa and tourism. It is worth an estimated $400 million a year.

By Emmanuel K.  Dogbevi

Email: [email protected]

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  1. Mr Modou Touray says

    I am a Gambian Timber dealer.
    Am always intrested in the latest developments about the situation of bthe tomber markets in the Repubilic of Ghana.
    More so also, am intrested in coming to Ghan a put a test to the buisness.
    Good luck

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