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Ghana - 26 July, 2013
Local demand for legal lumber could soon be met through a joint effort of former rivals in the timber industry. During a groundbreaking ceremony held on July 17, 2013 at the District Assembly Hall in Goaso, two artisanal milling groups in Sankore and Akrodie in the Brong Ahafo Region and the Logs and Lumber Limited (LLL), a saw milling company and forest concession holder in the Ashanti Region signed a partnership agreement to produce legal lumber for the domestic market. Under the agreement, LLL will supply logs to the artisanal milling groups and in return, have the groups protect its forest concessions against illegal chainsaw milling.
This arrangement comes on the heels of a project that sought to pilot a partnership agreement between forest dependent communities and forest concession holders to produce legal lumber for the domestic market.
The successful implementation of the project engendered the interest of Logs and Lumber Limited to willingly partner artisanal millers to produce legal lumber for the domestic market. The EU chainsaw project being implemented by TBI Ghana was on hand to facilitate the signing of a partnership agreement between Sankore and Akrodie Artisanal Milling Associations and LLL to produce lumber for the domestic market. The signing ceremony was attended by sixty-two people including politicians, traditional authorities, Forest managers, the media and forest fringe communities. The political head of Asunafo North Municipal Assembly, Mr Mohammed Kweku Duku was full of praise for the initiative; indicating government’s keen commitment in combating illegal chainsaw milling in the country. He encouraged the chiefs and communities to desist from the activity and pledged governments support to the initiative. The LLL’s representative was appreciative of TBI Ghana’s effort and saw the initiative as long overdue.
The Programme Director of Tropenbos International Ghana, Mr Nketiah said the agreement if successfully implemented will be scaled up to cover the entire country. He added that a chain of custody procedure for monitoring lumber from artisanal milling is still in preparation and a technical committee meeting would be held to look at sustaining artisanal milling. To show commitment, the Timber Industry Development Division had already donated two portable bansaw mills in support of the initiative. All stakeholders at the signing ceremony pledged their commitment to support the initiative and applauded the two parties for taking a bold step to address the problem of local lumber demand.