Nature and Development Foundation (NDF), a non-governmental organisation, has revealed that 2.5 million m³ of timber, which is equivalent to a forest area of 8,300 football fields, is illegally harvested annually in Ghana.
Addressing the media on the study published on Wednesday, the Capacity Building Expert, Abena Wood, said illegal logging is a major cause of Ghana’s deforestation.
“Between 2000 and 2010, increase in forest cover through forest plantations is 150,000 hectares, which accounts for only 13% of forest cover loss (1,150,000 hectares),” she stated.
Adding that, "right now we are cutting more than we are growing at a rate of three times more."
NDF and Tropenbos Ghana are an NGO implementing a European Union (EU) project of “strengthening the capacities of non-state actors to improve Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade, Voluntary Partnership Agreement (FLEGT-VPA) and Reducing Emission from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) in West Africa.
Delivering the report, Ms Wood indicated that the 2012 forest and wildlife policy intended to ban illegal timber on the domestic market has not been achieved.
According to her, there is a high demand for wood by consumers but low supply deficit leading to high logging but little or no reforestation.
“People are building, and people need wood for so many other projects, but the supply side is always lacking, so many people have found other means to satisfy this uneven gap,” she said.
She further added that the organisation is advocating for every wood in the market to come from a legal source, however, the cumbersome process of acquiring a Timber Utilisation Contract (TUC) makes it impossible for small scale loggers to acquire one.
“Long waiting periods, huge capital requirement, high cost of sawmill lumber, high preference of bush cut by consumers contribute key challenges to the supply of legal wood to the domestic market,” she stated.
She recommended that the government should legalize operations of bush mills to be the source of legal wood supply on the domestic market to control the rate of deforestation in the country as well.
The study titled “Bottlenecks to Supplying Legal to the Domestic Market.” was undertaken mainly to provide adequate information to support government’s proactive step on the proposed Public Procurement Policy (PPP) on timber and wood products.
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