Parliament approves harvesting of stumps in the Volta Lake

Parliament on Tuesday endorsed the agreement between Government, Volta River Authority and Clark Sustainable Resources Development Limited (CSRD) a Canadian firm for the phase II of harvesting, processing and marketing of timber from the Volta Lake.

The project will enhance river transport and reduce accidents and frequent loss of life on the lake and create employment opportunities for the youth.

The agreement granted salvage right to CSRD for an initial period of 15 years which would be extended for another 10 years.

The first Phase involved feasibility studies conducted in 2006 that ascertained the viability of the project.

It assessed the overall timber resources potential of the Volta Lake including diversity of species, the financial viability of extraction, processing, marketing and value added opportunities.

The study also addressed transportation and safety issues and developed an overall strategy for the underwater timber harvesting industry on the lake.

The CSRD has the exclusive right to harvest, process and market timber submerged in the Volta Lake over a contiguous area comprising 350,000 hectares.

Mr Gershon Gbediame, Chairman of the Committee on Lands and Natural Resources, who presented the report to parliament, said members were concerned about the environmental and social impact of the project.

He said the committee considered the fish stock in the lake and the livelihood of the communities living along the water resource.

Mr Gbediame said the contractor was under the obligation to ensure that the environmental and social impact of the project met World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) standards.

He said the Environmental Resources Management Limited of the United Kingdom assisted in assessing the environmental impact of the project, which would be reviewed by the EPA.

Mr Gbediame said as part of the project the CSRD would establish a sawmill in the Asuogyaman District to process logs that would be harvested from the lake.

Source: GNA

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