Technological platforms in Ghana aimed at enhancing timber trade in West Africa particularly Ghana have been launched in Ejisu in the Ashanti Region.
The two platforms dubbed “Property Market Registration/Renewal Process Platform and Electronic Wood Tracking System” will be deployed by the Forestry Commission for proper monitoring and enforcement in the timber business so as to enhance revenue mobilization.
The platforms were launched by the Minister of Land and Natural Resources, Hon. Samuel Abdulai Jinapor. The Minister said traders are now free to apply for registration or renewal of property marks required for either the cutting or felling of trees under Section 2 of the Trees and Timber Act, 1974 (NRCD 273).
“This would help significantly to reduce the many precious hours and days loggers spend in their quest to renew their marks. “Additionally, it will facilitate the collation and management of forestry data, leading to possibilities for more effective mobilization, as well as reporting on the contribution to socio-economic development,” he added.
According to the Minister, this initiative is at par with current global trends that determine rules and regulations that govern the management, regulation, and trade in forest products. He further explained that these technological infrastructures are what give Ghana access to the international market and attract foreign aid into the timber industry. The Minister said currently, the Ghanaian forest industry is at the mainstay of rural areas and this supports about two million people while also contributing to domestic and international markets.
He reported that for the years 2019 to 2020, Ghana exported €266 million worth of timber while between January and October 2021, €113 million was recorded. He said the government was committed to the management and development of Ghana’s forests and wildlife resources to ensure and preserve the forest and its wildlife.
Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, John Allotey, said the Commission has installed solar panels in 34 districts across the country to power the tracking devices.
Dr Julian P. Wright, West Africa Senior Climate Change and Natural Resources Advisor at the British High Commission, noted that the United Kingdom (UK) had invested £10 million to develop solar to power the digital tracking system.
He said the systems would help deal with revenue leakage and enable enforcement in the sector. He added that it would further enhance international trade and Ghana’s value in the timber trade.