Forestry Commission ‘rescues’ redundant workers
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Timber Millers Organisation (GTMO), Dr Kwame Asamoa Adam, who disclosed this to the Daily Graphic, described the sale of the company as another testimony of the dire straits timber companies find themselves in.
“It’s a sad situation but all is not lost, if as a country we are able to put our acts together and take reforestation seriously,” he said.
Dr Adam observed that many timber companies were going bankrupt because they were unable to make money to pay for investment.
Lack of raw materials and increased operational cost have combined to place the companies in very serious situations.
Ahwiaa Wood Products Company Limited operated for about 30 years before its sale, and was one of the biggest timber firms in the Ashanti Region and Ghana at large, offering employment to hundreds of Ghanaians during its glorious days.
According to Dr Adam currently Ghana has a log supply deficit of three million cubic metres.
At the moment, the Forestry Commission gives timber companies two million cubic metres a year for harvesting.
“But, if the logs are there, we can process about five million cubic metres in a year,” he said.
Last year, Ghana announced plans to import timber logs from some sister African countries to make up the shortfall, but this has not materialised.
Dr Adam said this was due to a number of challenges, including high custom duties and difficulties in getting vessels for shipment.
He stressed that although the potential to grow the timber industry was there, not much had been done to turn the tables.
“We have a good climate, good soil and can produce over 400 cubic metres per hectare which is about 20 times what we can get from natural forests, if we plan our plantation programme well and commit the needed resources to it,” he said.
Dr Adam mentioned the tree tenure system as one area that needed to be re-looked to ensure that farmers own the economic trees on their farmlands so that they would not destroy them.
“In the current situation where the trees do not belong to the farmers, they can easily destroy them,” he added.
By Kwame Asare Boadu/Daily Graphic/Ghana
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