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Sunday, February 5, 2023

EXCLUSIVE: Ban on Rosewood Logging – Shea processing factory to be commissioned to replace firewood production-Lands Minister

Ghana’s Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Lawyer Samuel. A. Jinapor has revealed the Akufo-Addo led government has deliberate plans to provide alternative sources of livelihood support for women especially in districts where firewood production is the main source of sustenance. This has become necessary as efforts are being undertaken at both the traditional council and national levels to protect the country’s fast degrading forest covers due to illegal logging and illegal mining of minerals.

The Savannah Regional House of Chiefs and the Regional Security Council banned logging and commercial charcoal production in the region on 30th May 2021. The ban meant transportation of such products out of the region was also prohibited. An attempt that sought to offer loggers the opportunity to clear “already logged trees” by the traditional council few days after the announcement of the ban was fiercely resisted by the youth in the region.

“This ban was at my instance and prompting which got the Savannah region house of chiefs to intervene and as it were, collaborate with government-the regional security council to place this ban,” the sector minister told ZAMI REPORTS.

Over 540,000 tons of rosewood – the equivalent of 23,500 twenty-foot containers or approximately six million trees – have been illegally harvested in Ghana and exported to China since 2012, according to BAN-BOOZLED, a report recently published by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).

“The rosewood trafficking violates national bans on harvest and trade meant to guarantee that not a single rosewood tree is felled in Ghana,” the report added.

An 11th  March 2019, ban on logging, transporting, and trading rosewood was the sixth in series of bans by successive governments since 2012. By 2013, the tree specie was declared endangered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora but the indiscriminate logging continue unabated.

Charcoal burning is one of the sources of livelihood for most rural women in northern Ghana including the Savannah region especially, during the dry season when there is minimum farming activities. The sight of heaps of charcoal greet visitors across the Savannah, Bono and Northern regions.

“The ban seeks to prevent the unsustainable exploitation and harvesting of tree species. In the past, you had these cartels who were involved in mass harvesting and exploitation of tree species in the region like rosewoods, shea etc to burn charcoal and we’re saying that , it cannot continue,” the Member of Parliament for the Damongo Constituency hinted.

On alternative livelihood sources for the women who also burn the tree species  for charcoal production, Lawyer Jinapor hinted plans to elevate the women from poverty.

“We’re embarking on massive agro-processing and promoting agriculture. There’s also the bit about shea nut industry and as a mar of fact, sometime in September, we’re going to commission shea nut processing factory here in Damongo-in Busunu which we believe will create the necessary value chain which will benefit the women.”

Mr. Jinapor also revealed funding has been secured to support at least fifteen thousand women in four years.

“I’m currently in the process of rolling out the Damongo Constituency Women Empowerment Programme dedicated  to supporting the women engaged in trading, give them access to funds and credits to be able to engage in agriculture and profitable interventions which will uplift their wellbeing. It will see the immediate roll out of funding and I believe that will help the women a lot.”

Between three to five thousand women will benefit from the funds in its first roll out with the over all plan to ensure every woman in the constituency benefits.

“That will help them start their own enterprises and where they have existing enterprises, that can support them to grow.”

The credit programme has been rolled out at the time of publishing this story.

By: Zubaida Mabuno Ismail|Damongo.



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