Group Campaigns Against Illegal Timber Trade

The Working Group on Forest Certification Ghana, an environmental Non-Government Organization (NGO), has underscored the need for the citizenry to shun patronizing illegal timber products.

The Group said such a boycott would help address deforestation and other illegal practices along the wood supply chain.

“To ensure deforestation and its impacts are reduced, wood buyers have a responsibility to buy only legal wood by demanding documentary proof from vendors,” Mr. Emmanuel Amoah Boakye, Coordinator of the Group, noted.

Legality of wood in Ghana, he said, is basically wood that had been logged, transported, processed and sold in accordance with the procedures and practices of forest law.

Mr. Amoah Boakye was speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the sidelines of a workshop, organized by the Group and funded by the European Union (EU) to sensitize stakeholders and key actors in the wood supply chain on the disadvantages of illegal timber trade to the nation.

It was supported by Nature and Development Foundation and Friends of the Earth , Ghana, both NGOs.

The participants, comprising timber firms, Procurement Officers in public and private institutions, Forestry Commission, media, among others, were drawn from the Sefwi-Wiawso, Juaboso and Bibiani forestry districts.

The programme formed part of a project by the Group to strengthen the capacity of community-based forest stakeholders for the successful implementation of the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) - EU timber regulation and domestic market policy in Ghana.

Topics treated were within the context of the Ghana-EU Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) which seeks to improve forest governance to ensure that timber exported to any EU market complied with legal requirements.

Mr. Amoah Boakye insisted that every logging and wood operator has the responsibility to prove with documents that their wood products have met all legal requirements before offering them for sales to the public.

Mr. Glenn Asomaning, Operations Director of Nature and Development Foundation, said in the face of the depletion of the nation’s forest cover,  it behoves stakeholders to remain committed to laws that bar illegal timber trade.

They should avoid buying timber without official documentation detailing its origin.

Mr. Gilbert Ampofo, Deputy Bibiani Forest District Manager, urged timber-related agencies and organizations to strive to campaign against illegal tree felling.