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Local communities in Ghana to produce legal lumber

Ghanaian local communities would soon be producing lumber to shore up the volume of legal lumber supply for the domestic market.

This would be achieved through the implementation of a project by Tropenbos International (TBI) Ghana, that seeks to link local communities to forest concession holders to produce legal lumber under the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), African Caribbean and Pacific Countries (ACP) and the European Union (EU) Forest Law Enforcement Governance Trade (FLEGT) support program.

This was made known at the launch of the Inception Workshop, of the ACP/FAO Project, which was dubbed, “Linking Local Communities and Forest Concession Holders to Produce Legal Timber for the Domestic Market,” in Accra on Monday.

Dr. Attah Alhassan of the Timber Industry Development Division of the Forestry Commission who launched the program, said “Without a strong domestic market, our industry cannot grow. We need to look out for weaknesses in this collaboration to ensure a strong front.”

Mr. Musa Mbenga, FAO Representative to Ghana, in a speech read on his behalf by Mr. Atse Yapi, ex-National Forest Programme Facility Officer, FAO Sub-Regional Office for West Africa, said the project was part of the broader ACP-FLEGT support program, known as “The Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and the Global Challenges of Deforestation and Forest Degradation, by Countering Illegal Logging and Promoting Sustainable Forest Management”.

He said currently, Ghana was implementing seven projects under the ACP-FLEGT Support Programme, adding that the ACP-FLEGT Support Programme had agreed to support some  projects in the country that sought to reduce illegal logging and also, integrate civil society in timber harvest validation processes, with 132,248.US Dollars.

Mr. Mbenga said the FAO was pleased with the enthusiasm and the commitment of the NGOs in Ghana that had been carefully selected to conduct “these projects on the ground”.

He said the initial report received form Tropenbos Ghana had been of good quality “and we trust that the final report will be equally excellent”.

Mr. Bart Missine, First Secretary of the EU Delegation in Ghana, said from earlier research carried out by Tropenbos International and others, “we know that despite the ban on chainsaw milling for commercial purposes, chainsaw lumber accounts for more than 80 per cent of the supply to the domestic market.”

He said to meet the demand from the domestic market, each year, trees with a total volume of more than 2.5 million cubic meters, were harvested.

Mr. Missine said the annual allowable cut for the formal industry was two million cubic meters, adding that with no formal fees or taxes paid on that harvest, it was estimated that each year, the Government of Ghana, lost approximately 25 million Ghana cedis in potential revenue.

Source: GNA

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