A Non-Governmental Organization Nature and Development Foundation has made a passionate appeal to the government and other stakeholders to expedite action to facilitate the immediate passage and implementation of the Timber Procurement Policy.
According to conservationists, the policy which has been pending for more than five years, if implemented will arrest the escalating rate of forest depletion in the country.
The policy when passed will mandate government agencies and contractors on state projects to use legally harvested timber for their work, to curb the current situation of about eighty percent of timber used been illegally harvested and used.
According to the Director of Nature and Development Foundation Mustapha Seidu, his outfit was an integral part of the drafting the policy and believe it’s the solution to the menace of illegal timber logging.
“It’s not something new, it’s already in the system and there are memos written on it. The ministry has all the records, so it’s just a matter of resuscitating it for it to be sent to cabinet again and if they need revision that would have to be done” he said
The Director further drew the attention of authorities to the havoc being caused to the forest annually by illegal logging.
Mr Seidu said they will among other things partner with major stakeholders to champion a course in creating awareness on the negative effects of the illegality as well as pushing for the implementation of the Timber Procurement Policy.
One of such activity was a two-day training program for journalists to encourage more environmentally related reporting. The Food and Agriculture Organization, European Union, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Department for International Development partnered the program.
Ghana to import timber
In 2014, the then Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Barbara Serwaa Asamoah indicated that the government was going to commence with the importation of timber.
She addressed the 5th edition of National Forest Forum-Ghana (NFF-G) in Dodowa, where she disclosed that timber products on the domestic market were not enough to meet demand.
The forum was attended by Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), policymakers and traditional leaders from the 10 regions under the theme: ‘Deepening Ghana’s Country Dialogue-Contribution to sustainable forest management,’ was organized by NFF-G to grant stakeholders the platform to dialogue on ways of sustaining Ghana’s natural resources.
“There is high demand for timber products in the country but the current timber production capacity is extremely low and if the government fails to bring in additional supply, illegal chainsaw activities could increase tremendously,” said the Deputy Minister.
“The trees we have in our forest are just small. Most of the mahogany and other tree species are gradually finishing, if we do not feed employers within the industry they will lay off their employees,” she stated.
By: Anass S Seidu/Citifmonline/Ghana
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