Govt to reinforce ban on rosewood

Mr. Allotey (left) briefing the media, Photo, Seth Adu Agyei

Mr. Allotey (left) briefing the media, Photo, Seth Adu Agyei

In spite of the ban on harvesting, transportation, export, sale or processing of rosewood in the country, the problem still persists, posing threat to the environment.

This was made known at a press briefing by the Forestry Commission (FC) at its offices at Achimota in Accra yesterday.

Mr. John Allotey, Deputy Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, briefing the media said the acceptability of rosewood on the international market five years ago led to the grant of harvesting permits to a few timber merchants in the country for export.

He said in the last few years harvesting of the species had gone out of control and in curbing the indiscipline, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources in 2014 banned the harvesting, transportation, export, sale or processing of rosewood in the country which mainly come from the three Northern regions.

Mr. Allotey said after evaluating the situation, and realising that large stock of rosewood remained on the ground after the ban, thirteen companies were granted permits in July 2015 to salvage the lying and confiscated logs that have been felled by farmers in various locations in the country.

He said the salvage initiative resulted in indiscriminate felling of the timber species thus compelling the new minister, Mr. Peter Amewu to revisit the ban in February this year and had directed the FC to enforce the ban by preventing the harvesting, transport and the export of rosewood in the country.

Mr. Allotey said in view of the situation, all permits issued in respect of harvesting, transport and export of rosewood expired last year December 2016 and all existing agreements for the removal of trees from the Bui dam enclave are revoked, adding that new companies would be selected on merit in due course to undertake the assignment.

He indicated that the West African States in a recent Conference of the Parties (CoP) 17 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in South Africa decided that trading in rosewood must be controlled in order to avoid its utilisation levels that would negatively impact its survival.

He said henceforth, the FC would regulate the exploitation of rosewood in accordance with CITES, ensuring that rosewood species would be processed locally for value addition for export to the overseas markets.

Mr. Allotey said 361 containers of rosewood belonging to different companies have been impounded at the Ports and some wood depots across the country as a result of the latest directive to enforce the ban.

To decongest the Ports and depots, he said the companies will be granted clearance for CITE certificates to enable shipment of the seized consignment when they have paid the necessary penalties imposed on them within two months to complete the exercise.

Rosewood is a timber used mainly for the production of very expensive furniture, as well as parts of other creative and musical instruments.

Rosewood is found in open forest and wooded savannah mostly in the forest savannah transitional zone and parts of the northern savannah woodland ecological zone.

Seth Adu Agyei

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