By Samuel Akapule, GNA
Accra, Aug. 28, 2017 (GNA) – Stakeholders in the forestry and timber trade, drawn from the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions have been trained in Bolgatanga on the guidelines for Overland Timber Trade.
The participants, who were operatives from the Overland Timber Trade, included the Ghana Police Service, the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, the Timber Industry Development Division of the Forestry Commission, exporters and importers of lumber.
The project dubbed « Strengthening Regulatory Mechanisms on Overland Timber Trade for Enhanced Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) and Ghana-European Union (EU) Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) » is being implemented by Tropenbos Ghana and forestry research, a Non-Governmental Organization in collaboration with the Forestry Commission with funding from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
In his welcome address the Programme Director of Tropenbos Ghana, Mr Samuel Kwabena Nketiah, said the VPA sought to strengthen community-based structures for forest law enforcement in the country to ensure efficient and legal domestic trade in timber.
He said his outfit has put together a document entitled, ‘Guidelines for Overland Timber Trade’ to serve as a working manual for all stakeholders whose line of duty touched on the Overland Timber Trade.
He said the purpose of the training was to help ensure that all the stakeholders involved in Overland Timber Trade become familiar with the document to enable them comply with forestry laws and regulations.
Mr Nketiah expressed worry about the rampant illegal logging of timber and rosewoods in the country particularly along the Kumasi –Paga road and noted that the workshop would help address illegal overland timber trade.
« We are all familiar with the sight of articulated trucks plying along the Kumasi-Paga road to Burkina Faso and beyond laden with lumber from our domestic timber markets. However, very few of us are aware that most of this trade is carried on illegally, even though it happens right before our eyes. There is therefore the need to adopt measures to bring sanity into the Overland Timber Trade », he said.
Mr Collins Y. Faakye , the Timber Grading and Inspection Manager, who took the participants through the topic, » Strengthening Regulatory Mechanism on Overland Timber Trade for Enhanced FLEGT/VRA Implementation Project », said the effective implementation of the Project would help contribute significantly to the protection and preservation of the country’s natural resources.
He urged all the stakeholders to complement the efforts of the Timber Industry Development Division (TIDD) to discharge its duties efficiently.
The TIDD is mandated to set out the criteria, development, supervision and the implementation of appropriate timber trade practices, chain of custody, quality and quantity assurance and settlement of complaints and disputes arising in the course of transportation.