The Charcoal Chamber of Commerce Ghana has been launched with a call on members to ensure regulation and sustainable management of the charcoal value chain.
Mr John Allotey, the Deputy Chief Executive Forestry Commission, who made the appeal, said it was important to sustain the business without compromising on environmental quality.
He said while government policy was to enhance the use of liquified petroleum gas by the households, some of the citizens still rely heavily on the use of wood fuels for their daily domestic cooking chores.
Wood fuels account for more than 60 per cent of total energy used in Ghana while the rural population dependent on wood energy, firewood or charcoal for cooking is greater than 90 per cent.
It is in this direction, he said, that the Forestry Commission deemed it fit to ensure that through the Chamber charcoal production would be well regulated across the country and also afford the Commission the opportunity to easily contact representatives to discuss issues in terms of education, sensitisation and regulation of their activities.
“So we are happy the charcoal producers themselves have come out with their executives and they have their own regulations and we are going to take them through the process, “Mr Allotey said.
In a presentation on the need for regulation and management of the charcoal value chain, Dr Kwakye Ameyaw, Technical Director of Forestry Commission, said the relatively high level of dependence on charcoal placed an obligation to ensure regulation and sustainable management of the charcoal value chain.
He said this was imperative for helping to sustain its enormous contribution to the socio-economic development of the Country without compromising on environmental quality.
Dr Ameyaw said a comprehensive approach for regulating and sustainably managing the charcoal value chain for the domestic market was a newly emerging policy issue.
He said the bulk of trees used for charcoal production for both the domestic market and export is harvested as an open access resource from farm lands and fallow lands which are not under any clearly defined institutional control.
This, he said, did not place any obligation on producers to protect the forest resources.
Dr Ben Donkor, Executive Director Timber Development Department of the Forestry Commission, said the Commission would work closely with members of the Chamber to build their capacity and skills in the establishment of woodlots for their work.
He urged all charcoal producers to register with the Forestry Commission to benefit from training and new technologies for production.
Mr Oppon Sasu, Executive Director Forest Services Division, said members should concentrate on sustainability of the forest.
He called for support for the Commission’s target to plant one million seedlings of tree species for community woodlots.
Mr Osafo Kuffuor, the Interim Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber, said the Chamber would bring together the large number of the different actors in the value chain to find ways to ensure the sustainability of production.