The Nature and Development Foundation (NDF), a Non-Governmental Organisation, with funding from the European Union, is building the capacity of 40 concession holders without processing mills.
The project, which is under the FAO-EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Programme, seeks to promote sustainable forest management through enhanced legality of forest operations.
The project is titled: “FLEGT Compliance in Ghana: Developing the capacity of Loggers without processing mills.”
It will build the capacity of 40 concession holders without processing sawmills to comply with private sector obligations under source of Timber, Timber Rights Allocation, Timber Harvest Operations and Transportation.
Ms Abena Woode, Capacity Building Expert at NDF, speaking at a virtual inception meeting, said the project would be implemented in selected forest districts in Ashanti, Eastern, Central and Western regions.
She said within the project life of 12 months, it would build the capacity of an additional 24 identified concession holders without processing mills.
In Ghana’s timber industry, there are about three identified categories in the concession system: Concession holders with processing facility, Concession holders without processing facility and processing facilities without concessions.
She said concession holders would be knowledgeable enough to comply with Health and Safety Standard requirements under the Ghana Legality Assurance system.
She informed that the recent capacity building projects for the private sector would focus on either concession holders with milling capacity and processing facilities without concessions.
Ms Woode said less attention had been paid to concession holders without milling capacity.
She added that health and safety were a key concern in forestry work because of the high risks, the reputational damage to the company and the violation of the fundamental human right of the affected individuals.
“All these concerns ultimately affect the issuance of FLEGT License, Export Permit, Domestic Timber Inspection Certificate, whichever is applicable,” she added.
She said by the end of the project, concession holders without processing facilities would comply with the Ghana’s Timber Legality Assurance Systems (GhLAS) requirements to ensure continual access to domestic markets, generate livelihoods from the production and trade of legal timber and ensure compliance to FLEGT license when passed.
Ms Woode informed that the project would produce infographic guides on harvesting operations and transportation legality compliance.
The Capacity Building Expert added that they would also develop infographic manual on health and safety according to the Ghana Logging Manual and using the health and safety infographic manual, beneficiaries would be trained to comply with the Ghana Logging Manual and GhLAS
The timber industry is the implementer and main beneficiary of FLEGT-Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VAP) processes and players understanding and compliance is the indicator of the eventual success of FLEGT-VPA in Ghana.
Since 2016, the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme has supported 25 projects in Ghana, amounting to over USD 2,700, 000, primarily focusing on capacity building among private sector operators, communication, and the establishment of the GhLAS.
Prior to the signing of the VPA in 2009, much of Ghana’s timber was illegally sourced, since then the country has seen a dramatic increase in the sourcing of legal timber and transparency.