Despite ban, more than 147,000kg of rosewood left Ghana to China

In March 2019, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, met journalists in Accra and spoke about illegal rosewood logging in the country. During the press briefing, he called on Ghanaians to resist the illegal logging of the precious tree species.

“The Regional and District Coordinating Councils, the Traditional Authorities and other state and non-state institutions should join the fight against illegal harvesting of fresh logs as it was the case in the fight against Galamsey,” he said.

“I would like to state that many Youth Groups are directly involved in the harvesting of the trees especially outside forest reserves and sell to permit holders. Most of the felling is aided by landowners and some known opinion leaders who are the same people on social media advocating for the ban. They condone and connive with illegal operators to harvest these trees,” the Minister added.

He also emphasized the fact that the ban on rosewood felling was still in force, however, between March and December that year more than 147,000kg of rosewood left Ghana to China.

Chinese customs trade data shows that 147,760,190kg of rosewood with a value of $87,628,864 was imported from Ghana into China from March to December 2019.

As recently as December 2019, data shows that 7,941,771kg of rosewood with a value of $5,368,120 was still being imported from Ghana by China, Lisa Handy, the Director of Forests Campaign of the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) told

“What is of greatest concern to us is the fact that the rosewood crisis we described in August 2019 is still happening in February 2020,” she added.

The EIA in an investigation, found that government officials were conniving with illegal loggers to fell trees for export. But a committee set up by the Ministry of Lands and Forestry to look into the allegations cleared the named officials.

Investigations by journalists have also shown that, despite the ban and claim by the government that it was enforcing the ban, illegal logging and export of rosewood from Ghana to China were still going on and there is trade misinvoicing with the volumes recorded in China being higher than the volumes recorded in Ghana.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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