Artisanal millers about to supply legal lumber to the market in Ghana

Artisanal millers about to supply legal lumber to the market in Ghana

Ghana - 05 March, 2014

The artisanal milling group of Sankore in the Goaso Forest District in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana has received its first consignment of logs from the company Logs and Lumber Limited (LLL) in December 2013. The group which entered into an agreement with LLL for the supply of logs will be able to place legal lumber on the domestic market which used to be supplied for more than 80% with illegal chainsaw milled lumber.

Although a banned activity, illegal chainsaw milling has persisted due to its contribution mainly to rural employment and the supply of lumber for domestic use. However, the activity is accompanied by conflicts, loss of revenue and deforestation. Ghana’s Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the European Union requires that the country not only trades in legal lumber internationally but also locally. In view of this, the EU Chainsaw Milling Project in Ghana has been engaging stakeholders to find sustainable alternative to illegal chainsaw milling in the country. Out of the dialogue came the use of artisanal milling in which former chainsaw operators receive adequate training and are able to source and mill lumber legally for the domestic market.

Meanwhile, some Timber concession holders claim to be underutilizing their harvesting rights resulting in substantial volumes of un-removed yields causing revenue loss to the state. To make use of un-removed yields, LLL entered into a Business Partnership Agreement as a joint effort to put legal lumber on the domestic market. In December the company supplied the Sankore group with logs from various tree species with a total volume of 81 m3.

The artisanal milling group in Sankore, comprising former illegal chainsaw operators, has been trained to become artisanal millers within the framework of the EU chainsaw milling project. Within the agreement with LLL, the group pledged their commitment to supply legal lumber to the domestic market. They will also monitor illegal chainsaw milling activities and report them to the appropriate authorities. It is foreseen that the continued supply of logs to the artisanal milling group and the signing of more Business Partnership Agreements will gradually transform Ghana’s domestic market to a legal business, supporting the implementation of the VPA.