Ghana’s minister of lands and natural resources, Mr Samuel Abdulai Jinapor, has praised the world teak conference’s organizers, sponsors, and partners saying that the platform is needed to build partnerships in environmentally sustainable approaches, with environmental sustainability at the forefront of global economic debate.
Mr Jinapor told delegates at the 4th World Teak Conference in Ghana’s capital Accra that teak cultivation is at the heart of the government’s forest landscape restoration efforts, particularly commercial forest plantations anchored around timber species.
“Platforms like this one allow us to promote alliances and effective cooperation for the long-term development and utilization of one of the world’s most important tree species. This is why I think the title of this Conference, “Global Teak Market: Challenges and Opportunities for Emerging Markets and Developing Economies is apt,” he reveals.
As part of an aggressive afforestation and reforestation programme, the Youth in Afforestation Project, the Modified Taungya System, the Forest Investment Program, and, most recently, the Green Ghana Initiative are being implemented according to the sector minister.
“The Green Ghana Initiative, for example, distributed and planted over seven million (7,000,000) tree seedlings on June 11, 2021, the inaugural edition of the Green Ghana Day, with an estimated twenty-six million (26,000,000) seedlings distributed on June 10, this year, the 2nd edition of the Green Ghana Day, Teak seedlings made up approximately five point two million (5,200,000) of the twenty-six million (26,000,000) tree seedlings supplied this year.”
Teak, commonly known as Tectona grandis, is a world-famous premium tropical timber with exceptional strength and beauty. It is thought to have evolved organically in places such as India, Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos, with early introductions into Indonesia, particularly the islands of Java and Muna, during the seventh (7th) century. It has numerous applications, including ship decking, railway coach building, door and window frames, panelling, and furniture.
Sir Dietrich Brandis, a renowned German botanist and forester, 1856 stated, “Among timbers, teak has a place same as diamonds among stones and gold among metals.”
The timber species were brought into Ghana in the 1905s, with seeds primarily from India and Burma, now Myanmar. However, it was not until the early 1970s that the country began to construct large-scale teak plantations as part of the government’s Rural Development Programme. Ghana is now a major teak-growing country in the world, having the most planted teak outside of Asia with an estimated 200,000 hectares (ha) of plantation held by both the government and the private sector, and accounting for around seventy per cent (70%) of the country’s forest plantations.
Teak is currently Ghana’s most important export timber specie in terms of both volume and value. Teak, for example, accounted for fifty-four (54%) of all timber species and wood products shipped from the country last year by volume and forty-five per cent (45%) by value, a phenomenon that is attributed to the deliberate and structured efforts by government through the Forestry Commission.
“These accomplishments have been made possible by the adoption of enabling policy and legal frameworks, as well as the respect for the rule of law and democratic accountability principles,” Mr Jonapor added
The fourth world conference, the first to be held in Africa, is being attended by more than three hundred (300) delegates and experts from thirty-one (31) different countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. These participants represent governments, policy makers, the private sector, academia, professional foresters, researchers, development partners, civil society players, and students, making it the conference with the highest attendance to date for teak.
Discussions are anticipated to centre on topics such as genetic improvement, forest landscape restoration, promoting ethical trade and marketing of teak products, value-adding and enhancing the livelihoods of smallholder teak plantation owners in rural communities, among others, as these concerns are at the core of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other international environmental and socioeconomic goals.
“I expect the conference’s outcomes to ensure more value-adding to teak products from emerging markets and developing economies to improve rural livelihoods and returns on teak investments in general, through a fair and transparent market system that fairly distributes benefits to all players along the value chain,” Mr Jinapor added.
According to Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Minister of Information, who spoke on behalf of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana, teak plantation and export are part of the government’s effort to “build back better” following the twin crises of COVID-19 and Russia’s war in Ukraine.
For a product that takes between 10 and 25 years to reach its market potential and is valued at $400 to $600 million on the global market, Mr. Oppong Nkrumah said it takes tenacity, clarity with interventions, coherence in policy, and sustainability measures to survive it when produced. He emphasized that the outcome of the three-day engagement will aid Ghana and the international efforts of the teak industry’s contribution.
Dr. John Parrotta, president of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), said the conference will give participants the chance to network, share ideas, and contribute to the expanding discourse on the prospects and difficulties of teak on the global market as a proud partner and financier of the 4th World Teak Conference.
He said as a proud partner and financier of the the 4th World Teak Conference, he is hopeful that the conference will afford participants the opportunity to connect, share ideas and contribute to the growing conversation on the opportunities and challenges of Teak on the Global Market.
The conference will give attendees the chance to network, share ideas, and contribute to the expanding discourse on the prospects and challenges of teak on the international market, according to Dr. John Parrotta, president of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), a proud partner and financier of the 4th World Teak Conference
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