By Kodjo Adams, GNA
Accra, March 15, GNA - The Ministry of lands and Natural Resources has directed the Forestry Commission to ban the harvesting of Rosewood in the country.
Rosewood is one of the tree species found in the middle belt and Northern parts of the country.
The Commission is also to suspend the issuance and processing of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) permits for the export of Rosewood.
The Ministry explained that harvesting of Rosewood was illegal in any part of the country, adding that the transportation and export of Rosewood had been suspended with immediate effect.
The Ministry stated that salvage permits were issued only for the evacuation of lying logs, and that any fresh harvesting of Rosewood was illegal and must be reported for immediate arrest of culprits.
Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, the Sector Minister, gave the directive at a news briefing in Accra to update the public on the status of Rosewood exploitation in the country.
He said the Ministry would collaborate with the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development as well as the various district assemblies to effectively implement the measures.
Mr Asomah-Cheremeh said as a medium-term measure to control further harvesting of Rosewood, arrangements were made in collaboration with the CITES and Civil Society Organisations to introduce a quota system to regulate how much Rosewood was exploited.
He said on a long-term basis a policy on tree tenure and benefit sharing for trees outside the forest was being discussed to motivate farmers to resist the illegal exploitation of Rosewood.
“Another long-term measure is to establish a plantation of Rosewood and promote local processing to add value to the material,” he said.
Currently we are collaborating with the Forest Research Institute of Ghana to develop fast growing species of Rosewood”.
He said there were 13 existing companies whose permit expired on December 31, 2016 but most of those companies were still in operation.
Mr Asoma-Cheremeh said the Ministry had constituted a taskforce to assess the situation on Rosewood exploitation and provide recommendations to effectively enforce the ban.
Records from the Forestry Commission show that as at 2017 a total volume of 56,190m3 was salvaged and a corresponding revenue of GH¢148,814,846 accrued.
In 2018, a total volume of 42,561m3 was salvaged and a corresponding revenue of GH¢ 122,946,151 accrued while from January 2019, to date, a total volume of 8,378m3 was salvaged and a revenue of GH¢25,119,884 accrued.
It would be recalled that two persons were shot dead while two others sustained injuries following clashes between the youth and members of the Auuro Family at Funsi in the Wa East District of the Upper West Region over the felling of Rosewood.