Dr Ernest Asare Abeney, Director of RUDEYA, a Non-Governmental Organization, has said illegal logging continues to be the challenge defying sustainable forest management leading to revenue loss to the state.
He said limited resources, capacities of small and medium size timbers firms to adopt certification practices, unfavorable weather patterns and lack of sustained interest by Forest Fringe Communities are some of the factors responsible for the revenue loss.
Dr Abeney said this on Wednesday during a press briefing on Sustainable Forest Management Partnership-strategic cooperation.
He said in 1999, illegal logging was estimated to cost the nation over GH¢36 billion, while in 2007, the cost of forest degradation was estimated at about $500 million.
Dr Abeney said non-compliance to regulatory standards and ineffective monitoring mechanisms led to the loss of 64 containers of Rose wood at the harbour in 2012.
“There is poor accountability in resource exploitation and lack of cost effectiveness in the use of resources, while raw material supplies to the tertiary subsector are mostly from illegal sources,” he said.
Mr Gustav Adu, Director of Kumasi Wood Cluster Association, urged organisations working in the forestry sector to come together to share experiences in order to safeguard the nation’s forest resources.
He said it is important to recognise and exploit synergies among forestry related organisations to build capacities and support sustainable forest management.
Mr Nehemiah Tettey Odjer-Bio, a stakeholder, called for companies to be interdicted when they refuse to adhere to the Social Responsibility Agreement (SRA).
Companies are expected to deposit at least five percent of the “stumpage fee upfront” as collateral for SRA, he said, adding that the amount accrued so far was meagre to address any social challenge facing the communities in forest boundaries.
Mr Delle Kpebesaan, Chairman of Steering Committee of Sustainable Forest Management Partnership-Ghana, said the 1994 forestry and wildlife policy required periodic revision of the stumpage fee so that communities are not short-changed.
He called for intensive advocacy and open collaboration between communities and timber logging companies to implement development projects geared towards improving the quality of lives in the areas they operate.