The government has developed a Timber Legality Assurance System to improve transparency, efficiency and legality in the timber trade in European and domestic markets.
The system is designed within the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) framework which is being implemented by the Government of Ghana and the European Union.
The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor disclosed this at the 4th world teak conference in Accra on Monday.
He announced that the ministry has also developed a Wood Tracking-Decision Support System (GWT-DSS), an electronic tracking system that tracks and traces timber from source to export.
According to him, the GWT-DSS would ensure that any timber that enters the supply chain originates from legal sources.
Mr Jinapor added that these initiatives have attracted and sustained key private and public sector investments in the forest plantation industry.
He further noted that teak is currently Ghana’s most exported timber species in terms of both volume and value.
“Last year, for instance, teak constituted 54% by volume and 45% by value, of all the 42-timber species of wood products exported from the country,” he noted.
He said Ghana has prioritized forest landscape restoration, especially commercial forest plantations, anchored around teak and other timber species.
“We are implementing an aggressive afforestation and reforestation programme, through the Youth in Afforestation Project, the Modified Taungya System, the Forest Investment Programme, and quite recently the Green Ghana Initiative.”
He reiterated that 200,000 out of the 26,000,000 seedlings distributed on this year’s Green Ghana Day on June 10, were teak seedlings.
He expressed optimism that the outcome of the conference would ensure more value-addition to teak products from the emerging markets and developing economies to improve rural livelihoods and returns on teak investments in general, through a fair and transparent market system that equitably allocates benefits to all players along the value chain.
On his part, the CEO of the Forestry Commission, Mr John Allotey, said the conference revolved around the production of teak, adding that the presence of key stakeholders from academia, researchers, policymakers, exporters and marketers, was a testament to the great value and importance of teak.
Irene Wirekoaa Osei, ISD