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Business News of Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Source: Theodore Mawuli Kwaku Viwotor, Contributor

Ghana-Ivory coast partnership key to forest conservation - FIAG

The Forest Industries Association of Ghana The Forest Industries Association of Ghana

The Chairman of the Governing Council of the Forest Industries Association of Ghana (FIAG), Richard Nsenkyire, has reiterated the need for the West Africa sub-region to coordinate to conserve their forests in the various countries.

Mr Nsenkyire, who made this call in Kumasi, during the visit of a six-member delegation from Ivory Coast, made up of leaders of various wood users, artisans and manufacturers’ associations, noted that the similarities of the situations in the two countries and the consequences of actions in one area on the other, called for closer collaboration for the conservation of our forests.

“We have a lot in common and what happens in one country, affects another country, so we need a stronger partnership to overcome our challenges by sharing experiences and learning from each other,” Mr. Nsenkyire told the delegation.

At a working session where representatives of FIAG met with the delegation, Mr Gustav Adu who is the Director of Operations recounted how the deliberations of ten trade associations culminated in the formation of FIAG.

He noted that the association has come a long way to become a strong voice for the industry in the sector, calling on their Ivorian counterparts to unite all forest-dependent stakeholders and operate with a unified interest since they all converge around the same resource.

He assured Ivory Coast of Ghana’s continuous support to ensure the good practices that have brought Ghana thus far in the FLEGT-VPA processes, are replicated in the West African country.

“Our doors are always open to you; don’t hesitate to call on us at any time because deforestation in your country is deforestation here. The world is global so we need to build synergies to promote our common good,” Mr. Adu stated.

For his part, Mr. Cyrille Komguep, leader of the delegation and Project Director of AVSI, a Civil Society Organization that covers many sectors in Ivory Coast, expressed his country’s gratitude to FIAG and all facilitators of the five-day trip, disclosing that it has been a very revealing experience.

He assured that the lessons learnt would be implemented in Ivory Coast, expressing optimism that, things are likely to change when they start using the Ghana experience.

The delegation visited the Ashaiman Wood Market in Accra, the Artisans’ Village in Aburi, the Sokoban Wood Village in Kumasi to learn about how they source the raw materials and their good practices.

They also visited a group of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), in the sector, comprising the Civic Response, Nature and Development Foundation (NDF), Legal Working Group, in Accra and the Ghana Timber Millers Organization (GTMO) in Kumasi.

The visit was part of Ivory Coast’s quest to learn about how Ghana is preparing for the Forest Law Enforcement and Governance Trade (FLEGT) license under the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union (EU), aimed at conserving the forests by ensuring only legal wood is procured and exported or sold on the domestic market.

Ghana has taken a giant step in the process and has become the shining light other countries are trying to emulate.

Countries such as Liberia, Gabon and Cameroon have been in partnership with Ghana in the quest to manage their forests sustainably and trade regionally to extract benefits of their natural resources.