Export of rosewood timber banned
A ban has been placed on the harvesting and export of rosewood timber from Ghana, effective January 1, 2014.
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, announced the ban following Cabinet’s approval of the need to curb the indiscriminate felling and export of rosewood in the country on September 20, 2013.
At a press conference in Accra, the minister said a three-month grace period, from October to December, had been given to enable licensed timber exporters to continue operating until their permits expired at the end of this year.
Rosewood is found in the savanna zones of the country, particularly the Northern and the Brong Ahafo regions.
In June last year, a temporary ban was imposed on the harvesting and export of rosewood but it was lifted shortly after the ministry had announced that it had put in place the necessary measures to forestall the adverse effects of the felling of rosewood.
‘Our field monitoring over the past few months, however, shows that there has been ascendancy in the rampant and indiscriminate felling of rosewood,’ Alhaji Fuseini said, adding that the monitoring of the activities of the exporters had been difficult, since they were not registered with the Forestry Commission.
He said the field reports also indicated that some rosewood exporters did not have permits to fell the timber in the forests ‘but these perpetrators often use some farmers and communities to harvest large volumes of rosewood and later approach the Forestry Commission to report of having detected illegally chopped rosewoods and request for salvage permit to haul them’.
If the situation was allowed to continue, Alhaji Fuseini said, ‘it will lead to a total loss of the fragile savanna landscape and biodiversity, increase erosion and threaten the very livelihood of the people of this ecosystem’.
He, therefore, directed the Forestry Commission ‘to ensure that the ban is effective from the said date by bringing it to the notice of the timber industry, while steps are taken to sensitise the public’.
By Emelia Ennin Abbey/Daily Graphic/Ghana
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