Supplying legal lumber to the domestic market in Ghana

Supplying legal lumber to the domestic market in Ghana

Ghana - 11 March, 2013

Ghana is close to finding a solution to the dilemma of supplying legal lumber to the domestic market as indicated by a just completed pilot project by Tropenbos International Ghana. TBI Ghana has devised and successfully tested new models that link artisanal millers directly to forest concession holders to access logs to produce lumber for the Ghanaian market.

Since 1998 Ghana has banned the use of chainsaw to convert logs into lumber for commercial purposes. Alternative arrangements for supplying lumber have failed largely because conventional millers prefer to sell their products on the export market, creating a huge supply gap on the domestic market. Through a multi-stakeholder process, a domestic lumber policy was formulated as one of the first steps to deal with the unmet demand for legal lumber on the domestic market. The policy however hinges strongly on giving opportunity to artisanal millers to also produce lumber for the domestic market, alongside the conventional millers. The problem however has been how to get legal logs to the artisanal millers since most of the resource is now in the hands of forest concession holders who invariably sell to the conventional millers.

To make logs available to artisanal millers, TBI Ghana came up with models that link artisanal millers directly to forest concession holders who currently have legal access to the resources but mostly do not have processing facilities. Through this ‘marriage’ artisanal millers are able to have legal access to the resource and thereby produce legal lumber for the domestic market. The pilot project also developed a wood tracking system which enables producers and traders to verify legal compliance.. The result of this pilot has attracted such interest that the Forestry Commission has already invested in two artisanal mills to further refine the findings of the pilot for up-scaling.

This pilot project was part of the broader ACP-FLEGT Support Programme (The Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Support Programme for African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries); a collaborative effort amongst the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the European Commission (EC) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) to address forest law enforcement, governance and trade issues in ACP member countries.