FAO-EU FLEGT Programme

Buyers, producers seek ways to promote legal timber amid rising domestic demand in Ghana


Accra, Ghana – Timber buyers and producers in Ghana discussed how to ensure a reliable supply of legal timber against a backdrop of rising domestic demand as well as a proposed national public procurement policy.

Participants at a recent workshop in Accra — which included a three-day visit to timber producers, processing companies and associations — also considered how to develop networks and increase support for adoption of the Timber Public Procurement Policy in Ghana. The present version is still awaiting Cabinet approval.

The Government of Ghana, under a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union, has agreed to ensure that it exports only legal timber and that all timber on its domestic market as well is legal. But growing domestic demand is increasing competition among companies in Ghana to source legal wood for domestic consumption.

The workshop and tour, which drew 31 participants, considered ways to bridge the gap between available supply of legal timber and demand, organizers said.

“This activity linked buyers to the sources they need to procure high-quality, legal timber. The tour provided these buyers with the opportunity to meet producers and develop relationships with reliable suppliers in top timber producing regions in Ghana, which will make it easier to purchase legal timber on the domestic market,” said Margaret Appiah, Projects Officer at the Nature and Development Foundation (NDF).

NDF organized the event, including tours of operators in Takoradi, Assin-Fosu, New Edubiase, Kumasi and Koforidua, with support from the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme, to help build networks and links between legal producers and responsible domestic buyers. Problems with connecting the two sides has left many companies with little choice but to use mostly illegally produced wood in Ghana.

Further, as Ghana grows and becomes ever more urban, demand for wood and wood products is also increasing, making the need for reliable sources of legal wood more urgent.

NDF organized the workshop as part of its “Innovation for improved forest governance in West Africa: demand and supply-side solutions in a changing landscape” project, which is funded by the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme.

Participants at the conference came from other VPA-implementing countries such as Liberia and Côte d'Ivoire as well as Ghana. Government officials also joined participants for round-table discussions. This interregional exchange was aimed at promoting the value of a timber public procurement policy to increase the supply of legal wood for domestic markets in other timber producing countries.

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