Government is in the process of finalising a bilateral agreement with Cameroon to enable prospective timber contractors import timber from that country.

This is as a result of scarcity of timber in the country following the accelerated depletion of forests over the last few decades — mainly through over-logging and lack of reforestation.

This will enable the country meet the high demand for timber products — in both the domestic and export markets.
The concept falls within international trade norms and is seen by some timber merchants as very laudable and timely to halt the imminent collapse of remaining forest cover in the country.

Dr. Alhassan Attah, Executive Director of Timber Industry Development Division (TIDD) of the Forestry Commission, told journalist in Accra that despite the nation?s population explosion coupled with its inherent high wood demand, the Forestry Commission has and continues to manage the rest of the forests in a prudent manner amidst constraints.

Dr. Attah said importers of timber from Cameroon will be at liberty to add value to their products for sale on the domestic market and for export.

Asked if Ghana has not managed its forest resources well over the years, leading to the huge decline of timber production in the country, Dr. Attah said that is not the reason but rather the Congo Basin in Central Africa — of which Cameroon is part — has the second-largest pristine tropical rain-forest in the world after the Amazon Basin in South America and due to its low population in a huge country; and, also, attention has been focused more on exploitation of mineral resources than timber, which has enabled it to maintain huge forests over the years.

He said Ghana has witnessed a gradual fall of wood-product exports in recent years, and that in 2011, TIDD exported a total of 319,843 cubic metres of wood products which earned a revenue of ?107.4m, while in 2012 a total volume of 251,246 cubic metres was exported with a revenue of  ?99.8m.

Dr. Attah said though there was a significant decline in volume between 2011 and 2012, the revenue appreciated marginally due to the price-hike of wood products on the world market.

By Kwame Mensah

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