The Forestry Commission is targeting the local processing of Rosewood for value addition and export purposes.
The Commission says this new agenda is aimed at efficient regulation of the exploitation of Rosewood in accordance with agreements with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
It would also help in reducing the illegal harvesting and export of the wood. Addressing a press conference at the Corporate Offices of the Forestry Commission, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Commission, John Allotey said the Commission will issue licenses to some local factories that have been identified to have the capacity to process rosewood.
“The Forestry Commission will regulate the exploitation of rosewood in accordance with agreement with CITES. Henceforth the commission will be tasked to ensure domestic processing of rosewood logs for value addition prior to export to overseas market”, he stated.
TWO MONTHS ULTIMATUM
The Forestry Commission is giving owners of some 361 impounded containers of rosewood a two-month ultimatum to clear the logs or risk forfeiting them. This is to decongest the ports and wood depots where they are being kept. The owners would, however, be made to pay penalties for flouting a ban on the harvesting and transportation of the wood which expired on December 30, 2016. This one-off CITES permit is in view of the fact that they had already paid all statutory fees to the Forestry Commission. “It is also after payment of these penalties that the Forestry Commission will grant clearance for CITES certificate to be issued to enable shipment of the existing seized stocks”, the Deputy CEO of the Commission continued.
ROSEWOOD IN THE BUI DAM ENCLAVE
The Forestry Commission has also revoked all existing agreements for the removal of trees from the Bui Dam enclave. This is upon the expiration of all permits as at December 31 2016 in respect of harvesting, transportation and export of Rosewood. Some four companies that were given permits to remove trees within the enclave and fairway but have failed to settle their debts with the Bui Authorities will lose existing stock recorded in their names.
ILLEGAL EXPLOITATION OF ROSEWOOD
Until about a decade ago, Rosewood was not considered among the commonly traded Ghanaian timber species on the international markets. The acceptability of the Rosewood on the international market some five years ago, led to the granting of harvesting permits to a few timber merchants for export. In the last few years, the harvesting and export of Rosewood has gotten out of control forcing the Forestry Commission to develop new ways of dealing with the phenomenon.