Over 300 participants attend 4th World Teak Conference in Accra

The 4th World Teak Conference aimed at promoting responsible teak trade, marketing and tree improvements opened in Accra yesterday on the theme Global Teak Market; Challenges and Opportunities for Emerging Markets and Developing Economies.

Over 300 participants from 20 countries, including researchers, marketers and agro forestry experts are attending the four-day event.

Topics to be discussed include value addition and livelihood enhancement of small holder teak plantations, promoting responsible teak trade and marketing, tree improvements, management and community forestry and family planning.

Sponsored by SRS Group, Mere Plantations, Renas Prestige, form Ghana, Aron global, ETL, Kilombero Valley, the Liaison Group for mining in forest reserves and MIRC.

It is being organised by the Forestry Commission of Ghana, International Teak Information Network (TEAKNET), the International Tropical Timber Organisation, the International Union of Forest Research Organisations(IUFRO) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation(FAO).

The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, speaking at the opening commended the organisers for selecting Ghana as a host for the conference at the time the world was  recovering from the global  COVID-19 pandemic and  environmental sustainability.

This, he said, would afford the governments  and the private sector to work  together to conserve natural resources and protect global ecosystems to support health and wellbeing  platforms that gives  opportunity to foster partnerships for the sustainable development and utilization of one of the most important tree species in the world.

 He explained that teak was the world most renowned premium tropical timber with excellent and aesthetic qualities and said to have natural and high impact uses such as construction of railway carriages, door and window frames as well as paneling and furniture.

Mr Jinapor said it was not until 1970s that the country started embarking on large-scale teak plantation under the government rural development programme making the country a majority growing country in            Africa.

The minister stated that about 5.2 million teak trees were distributed at this year’s trees planting exercise on estimated 200,000 hectares of land owned by both the government and private sector.

The tropical timber, according to the minister, constituted approximately 70 percent of forest plantations in the country.

The Vice President, Dr Mahmudu Bawumia, in a speech read on his behalf by the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, said even though  Ghana was a leading producer of teak on the African continent it would focus on building a  stronger teak market capable of creating jobs to promote the socio-economic development of the member countries.

He indicated that the country Ghana would put the key prescriptions from the conference to use, to further boost its enviable contribution to the teak industry.

There were solidarity messages from the FAO, TEAKNET, IUFRO, and ITTO Japan.

BY LAWRENCE VOMAFA-AKPALU

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