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Regional News of Thursday, 22 January 2004

Source: GNA

Association embarks on programme for sustenance of forest

Kumasi, Jan. 22, GNA- The Ghana Tertiary Wood Products Association (GHATEPA), has introduced a programme designed to help its members effectively supplement efforts of stakeholders, at sustaining the country's forests and the wood sector.

Reverend S.K. Fugah, President of the Association who announced this, said as part of the programme, training schemes are to be conducted at various levels to instil in members an affection and skills for the utilisation of lesser known tree species, rather than over-concentration on the traditionally known ones.

Among the traditional species are tropical hardwoods like Odum, Sapele and Mahogany which are currently over exploited, resulting in depletion of the forest, while the lesser known species including, Ceiba and Yaya, which are equally good wood, are being shunned by some wood dealers.

Briefing newsmen on the objectives of the GHATEPA in Kumasi on Tuesday, he said, if people in the wood industry begin to accept to use more of the lesser-known species for their work, pressure on the forest would be reduced and effective management and sustenance guaranteed. The GHATEPA, which is a new Association, formed last year to cater for the interest of people in the tertiary wood industrial sector, is scheduled for formal inauguration on January 28, 2004 in Kumasi by the Minister for Lands and Forestry, Professor Dominic Fobih.

Rev. Fugah observed that even though the lesser-known tree species were also hard woods and equally good, lack of adequate education and skills amongst wood dealers, in respect to their utilisation, has made "them focus more on the traditional hard woods instead".

He said the GHATEPA would also assist them through various schemes to add value to their products and enhance the quality of their works, to enable them to earn more income, he added. Rev. Fugah disclosed that already a credit scheme has been established to support members and expand their businesses.

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