containers of rosewood from the Kalakpa Resource Reserve in Abutia, in the Volta
Region were illegally smuggled out of the country to international markets
between January 2018 and January 2019.
conducted by the Ghana Wildlife Society (GWS) in collaboration with Kalakpa
Youth Club and the Abutia Development Union, all non-governmental organisations,
established that despite a nationwide ban on the felling of rosewood since 2014,
the illegality had been prevalent in the reserve in the last six years.
There was also
alleged evidence of illegal settler communities, onsite sawmill operations, designated
unofficial routes, a charcoal production industry, some forestry officials
involved in the illegalities among other activities that threatened flora and
fauna of the reserve.
At a news
conference in Accra yesterday to highlight the extent of destruction in the wildlife
protected area acquired by government some 44 years ago, Director of the
Kalakpa Club, Horlali Haligah noted that “the direction of trade of Ghana’s
rosewood in terms of value mainly pointed to China and India.”
unit price of timber as reported by the Forestry Commission in 2018 stood at
€618 so 200 containers, translating into about 5,000m3 of rosewood is almost €
3,090,000 (GHc 18,147,261). If we are to add new market price this year, the
value may be higher,” he stated.
to him, in spite of the large volumes of rosewood evacuated from the reserve in
recent times, there were no records of proceeds coming to the local communities
to improve the wellbeing of indigenes in line with the Forestry Commission Act
1999 (Act 571, section 2 a, b).
seen markings that suggest that the illegal loggers have valid timber
certificates despite a ban on rosewood which implies that some senior officials
may be involved.
the Forestry Commission is supposed to be responsible for the sustainable
management of resources in our protected areas, what we see in Kalakpa is a
shameful dereliction of this duty. We see no plan to replenish already degraded
areas, no plan to remove illegal settlers or farms, no plan to improve security
of the reserve and no plan to promote the reserve to attract tourists,” he
Mr Haligah asked
the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to immediately institute measures
to address the Kalakpa situation, calling for more efficient ways of regulating
and enforcing the ban on rosewood.
challenge the Volta Regional Minister and the Volta Regional Security Council
to as a matter of urgency carry out in-depth independent investigations into
the recent logging scandal and bring the ring leaders to book.
Resource Management Approach (CREMA) needs to be implemented at Kalapka to
engage more local communities in the oversight and management of this nature
reserve for posterity,” he urged.
Advocacy Officer of GWS, Faisal Elias charged the Forestry Commission and the
sector ministry to “ensure the ban is made to hold this time” by improving
monitoring and surveillance of “protected areas and the plant and animal
species in them.”
government to hasten the passage of the Wildlife Resource Management Bill into
law to give legal backing to community participation in forest management.
participation is key in forest management and the involvement of people and communities
within the Kalakpa landscape in the management of the reserve must be
strengthened to increase its protection,” Mr Elias maintained.
a hard timber species with durable, distinct looking
grain which takes more than 100 years to mature. They are wild species
which are not cultivated but grow by themselves.
2014, government placed a ban on the harvesting and export of rosewood from
Ghana until further notice.
The ban had
since been renewed by successive governments and recently, in March this year,
the current Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Kwaku Asomah- Kyeremeh, re-affirmed
that the ban was still in force.
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH and DOROTHY BROCKE
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