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Business News of Monday, 18 March 2013

Source: GNA

Ghana to improve legal lumber supply to domestic market

Ghana has developed a new policy that seeks to improve the supply of legal lumber to the domestic market.

The policy was developed following several years of discussions between forest stakeholders to find viable alternatives to the illegal chainsaw milling which supplied about 84 per cent of domestic needs.

It was put together by Tropenbos International Ghana, an NGO dedicated to ensuring sustainable forest management, and the Forestry Commission (FC), under the Multi-stakeholder Dialogue Project of the European Union (EU) Chainsaw Project.

It aims at eliminating illegal chainsaw operations while at the same time ensuring the supply of legal lumber to the domestic market on sustainable basis.

Again, it seeks to promote good forest governance and provide a framework that facilitates production and trade of legal timber on the domestic market.

Mr James Mckeown Parker, Project Coordinator of Tropenbos International Ghana-EU Chainsaw Project, made these known at a media briefing at Fumesua in Ashanti Region to highlight the achievements of the project.

He said a model that sought to link artisanal millers directly to forest concession holders to access logs to produce lumber solely for the domestic market had been devised and successfully tested. It will offer opportunity to artisanal millers to produce lumber for the domestic market alongside conventional millers.

Mr Parker mentioned that the policy also sets out strategies to improve the supply of legal timber to meet the over 600,000 cubic metre per annum demand by the domestic market and develop a framework to stimulate sawmills to supply at least 40 per cent of their production to the local market.

According to him, by using artisanal millers, lumber for domestic market would be produced within a legal framework, which allowed improved revenue collection and to help Ghana fully meet her obligations under the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the EU.

Mr Kwabena Nketiah, Programmes Director of Tropenbos International Ghana, said the country was not deriving optimum benefits from its forest resources, adding that, the present trends of exploitation was not sustainable.

He called for the need to devise strategies and interventions that would make people derive maximum benefits from forest resources to help reduce poverty, especially in rural communities.

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