Ghana is said to be losing its forest cover at an alarming rate due mainly to illegal logging and lack of implementation of forest- related policies.
The state of affairs, according to experts, demand urgent policy attention and enforcement of existing laws as the country loses about 65, 000 hectares of its forest cover yearly.
It is estimated that out of the 8.2miillion hectares of forest cover that existed in the last three dacades, the country is now left with just 1.6 million hectares, thus, depicting a gloomy picture of the status of the country’s forests cover.
It is to reverse this status quo that the Nature and Development Foundation(NDF) is calling for the passage and speedy implementation of the Public Procurement Policy on Timber and Timber Products for the domestic market.
The policy aims to use the purchasing power of government procurement to signal the market in favour of legally and sustainably produced timber and timber products. It is also to among other things ensure that all timber and timber products for public purpose originate from legal sources.
Speaking at a two-day workshop held for journalist in Accra last week, the Director of NDF, and Mr Mustapha Seidu emphasised the need for government to prioritize the passage of the policy on timber procurement, while encouraging the public to desist from buying wood from illegal sources. In Ghana,
Mr Seidu said though there was some level of commitment during the development of the policy,it appears the enthusiasm has waned in recent times, hence the need to intensify the campaign to ensure that the policy is passed.
He indicated that illegal logging results in loss of livelihood of millions of people, affects development project of country, causes water bodies to dry up as well as exposes human life to health hazards through the inhalation of dangerous gasses trapped in the atmosphere.
He said the country loses two percent of its forest cover per anum as illegal loggers continue to terrorize the country’s forest reserves.
According to him, illegality in timber harvesting has remained a formidable challenge for managers of the country’s resources resulting in the promulgation of various regulations and policies which are themselves ineffective due mainly to weak enforcement and monitoring.
He called on all Ghanaians to support the fight against illegal logging, saying, “we should be part of the solution by choosing legal wood to save Ghana’s remaining forest and citizens from the damaging impact of deforestation.”