Timber industry

As Ghanaian authorities fight hard to reverse the incidence of deforestation the plight of the country’s forestry sector rather seem to be deepened by activities of illegal loggers, a senior public officer disclosed to Xinhua here on Tuesday.

Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Forestry Commission cautioned that if tough measures were not taken to halt such activities of merchants who invade forest reserves to steal wood, the country would lose its entire forest cover in no time.

The CEO made this known after a press briefing to repudiate allegations by some loggers who had accused the commission’s officials of high-handedness.

“It is alarming and if we are not careful if it continues, like what I saw in the Western Region if it continued for one year we will not have anything called forest in the Western Region and in Brong Ahafo as well,” Owusu-Afriyie cautioned.

What aggravated the situation, Owusu-Afriyie added was the fact that; “We are challenged. We have very limited staff that go round our forests.”

The situation seemed quite overwhelming for the commission as some of the illegal sawyers engage commission guards in gun battles.

Emmanuel Teye, 32, a Chief Resource Guard remained in a critical condition at the Dodowa government hospital. at the northern outskirts of the capital, with pellets lodged in parts of his body after unknown gunmen shot at him while he was on guard duties in one of the forests around the capital.

“Because he is protecting the forest reserve and will not allow this illegal activity to go on some snipers shot at him, with bullets lodged in parts of his body,” the CEO revealed, showing t photos of the guard in his current condition.

He said the commission was challenged with shortage of critical staff and so appealed to the government to grant them the green-light to employ more hands to guard the forests and protect Ghana’s eco-system

The commission however in critical circumstances works with the military to bring some level of compliance by loggers around the forests.

Edith Abrokwa, Operations Director for the Forests Services Division of the commission described Teye’s situation as critical needing surgery to dislodge the pellets from his body with one of them lodged in his neck.

Other major economic activities that degrade forests in Ghana are sand winning, indiscriminate felling of trees, cattle grazing and burning of bushes for faming, hunting and other purposes.

China Electronic Import and Export Company (CEIEC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Forestry Commission here on Tuesday (January 22) to deepen their cooperation on forest resource development. Enditem

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