Out of all the forty-two (42) timber species and wood products exported from the country, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR), Samuel A. Jinapor, has revealed that teak is the most exported timber, in terms of volume and value.
He disclosed this at the opening ceremony of the Fourth World Teak Conference in Accra yesterday, under the theme “Global Teak Market: Challenges and Opportunities for Emerging Markets and Developing Economies”.
The minister stated that the position teak occupies in the Ghanaian timber industry today, is not by accident, but as a result of deliberate and structured efforts by government, through the Forestry Commission.Also, in collaboration with private sector players and rural communities, to take advantage of the conducive investment, climatic and edaphic conditions to actively promote the development of forest plantations.
“These achievements have been chalked through the implementation of enabling policy and legal frameworks, respect for the rule of law and the principles of democratic accountability,” he added.Apart from developing this timber specie, the minister reinstated government’s position on working to make its harvesting, trade and use in the downstream industry easy and legally compliant, internationally.
“We have, therefore, developed the Ghana Timber Legality Assurance System (GhLAS) under the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Framework being implemented between the Government of Ghana and the European Union, to enhance transparency, efficiency and legality in timber traded from Ghana,” he said.
The minister of LNR continued that Ghana has prioritized forest landscape restoration, and especially commercial forest plantations, anchored around teak and other timber species.
These initiatives, according to him, have attracted and sustained key private and public sector investments in the forest plantation industry in Ghana.
The minister further stated that the Forestry Commission has developed a digital property mark and registration system, which allows timber companies and loggers to register and renew their property marks, a prerequisite for legal timber production in Ghana, from the comfort of their homes.
“We are implementing an aggressive afforestation and reforestation programme, through the Youth in Afforestation Project, the Modified Taungya System, the Forest Investment Program, and quite recently the Green Ghana Initiative,” the minister stated.
Also, “Under the Green Ghana Initiative, for example, over seven million (7,000,000) tree seedlings were distributed and planting on June 11, 2021, the maiden edition of the Green Ghana Day, with an estimated twenty-six million (26,000,000) seedlings distributed on June 10, this year, the 2022 edition of the Green Ghana Day. Out of the twenty-six million (26,000,000) tree seedlings distributed this year, about five point two million (5,200,000) of them were teak seedlings.”
Prior to this year’s planting, Mr Jinapor added that there were an estimated two hundred thousand hectares (200,000 ha) of teak plantation in the country, owned by both government and the private sector, and constitutes approximately seventy percent (70%) of forest plantations in the country.
This, he affirmed that, “the Conference is being held at a time when the world is recovering from a global pandemic, when the world is facing economic crisis, and when environmental sustainability is at the forefront of global economic debate, with both Governments and the private sector working together to conserve natural resources and protect global ecosystems to support health and well-being.”
Platforms like this, he noted, gives them the opportunity to foster partnerships and effective cooperation for the sustainable development and utilisation of one of the most important tree species in the world. The minister assured that Ghana will continue to work with all partners to develop the teak industry for the socio-economic development of our people and the world at large.
The Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, who represented the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, at the ceremony, said Ghana is the destination of choice for investors looking to explore and do business on the Teak Market.
“Ghana is a land of opportunities right from pre-colonial days, we are a place where opportunities abound and as the world focuses on post economic recovery, and seeks to examine the opportunities in the Teak market, Ghana is the best place to do this,” he proudly established.
The Minister for Information said for a product that takes between 10-25 years to reach its market potential, it requires tenacity, clarity with interventions, policy coherence and sustainability measures to survive it when producing it, stressing that the outcome of the three day engagement will help Ghana and the global efforts of the contribution of the Teak Industry.
“By the time you are done, our expectation is that we will receive a report which should guide global leaders on how to utilize the endless possibilities of Teak” he said.
Oppong-Nkrumah said with Ghana being the leading producer of Teak on the African continent, government is intentional about enhancing its production in Teak, stressing that Afforestation is a key part of Ghana’s strategy in building back the economy, after the twin crisis of COVID 19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine War.
“Teak is good business because it creates a lot of jobs and economic value for our people,” he said.