The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Forestry Commission Mr. Afari Dartey has underscored the decline in the volume of export of woods and wood products on the European Union Market from 60% to 30%, experienced?by the timber industry as a big blow.
He mentioned that the situation was as result of the new policies introduced by E.U countries, demand for high quality standards for woods products and above all the demand for certified wood products.
The European Union Timber Regulation [E.U.T.R] which prohibits the placing of illegally harvested timber and timber products? on E.U market, he indicated poses a number of challenges for? product producers, hence the need for a hard work to ensure a reversal of the trend so as to maintain the industry’s share in the E.U market.
Regulation passed on the 20th of October 2010 and? to be implemented on the 3rd of March? 2013 he indicated puts a heavy responsibility on buyers of wood products to the E.U market as they challenged to? demonstrate to appointed competent authorities that, such timber products are coming from legal sources by exercising a due diligent system which evaluates the risk of passing illegally harvested timber and timber products on the market.
Speaking at a meeting with shareholders which centered on the E.U Timber Regulation, Yield Subsite and Online Contract system, Mr. Afari Dartey indicated that it therefore puts an equal responsibility on wood product exporters to provide genuine and credible required information and documents to support buyers to complete their mandatory Due Deligent System [D.D.S] .
Ghanaian Timber product shippers plus other agencies he challenged should learn more about the E.U.T.R requirements. Illegal harvesting of timber he mentioned has become a trend now in global timber trade, calling for initiative like F.L.E.G.T under which the E.U is pursuing voluntary partnership agreement with a number of timber producing countries to address the problem.
Initiatives currently pursued by government for upgrading the legality Assurance system include; the passage of the Timber Resources Regulations of 2012-LI 2184 which will guide the implementation of L.A.S and F.L.E.G.T licenses issuance, deployment of a national wood tracking system for which contract has been signed with Atta Marie Consortium as service providers who are currently developing the functional specifications of the W.T.S for its roll out and the procurement for the services of a Third party independent monitor for the L.A.S at bid re-evaluation stage.
These initiatives he noted are expected to set the tone for Ghana to have a credible system to determine the legality of our wood and wood products in conformity to the demands of green markets.