The Forestry Commission of Ghana,has impounded at least 25 Container trucks smuggling rosewood from the Northern Part of the country to Tema Port for export.
Seven of the Vehicles enroute to Tema were impounded at Suhum in the Eastern region while others trucks seized at the Forestry Commission office and check point in Accra.
Despite the ban,some smugglers collude with officials of forestry commission to harvest the contraband timber for export ,however,few are sometimes impounded .
The new Minister of Lands and Natural Resources,John-Peter Amewu, in February after assuming office,reminded officials of Forestry Commission about the fact that,the ban placed on rosewood across the country as part of efforts to bring sanity in the forestry sector,is still in force.
He said the ban also gives a directive to the Forestry Commission to stop the issuance of felling permits for rosewood.
“We will embark on tree nurseries establishment, forest plantation development, development of the bamboo and rattan industry, conservation of biodiversity, protection of water bodies and promotion of eco-tourism,” he said.
Rosewood is a fine grained timber used principally for the production of high-end expensive furniture for the elite across the world, especially in Asia (China). It is used also for making chess pieces, as well as parts of musical instruments. It is estimated that China alone imports close to 96 per cent of all rosewood lumber exported out of Ghana.The high external demand of rosewood has led to over exploitation of the species .
The Member of Parliament for Builsa South,Dr.Clement Apaaak,recently raised alarm at the increase illegal felling of rosewood in his constituency in spite of the current ban. He said rosewood logging is ongoing in Fumbisi, Uwasi, Weisi, Doninga, Bachonsi, Kanjaga, Wiesi, Gbedembilisi, Yepala and several other communities in the Builsa South District
“I can confirm that illegal loggers are actively pillaging the remnant forest patches in the savanna zone, including ours in Builsa South, and are felling rosewood in spite of the recent directive by the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources banning the logging and export of rosewood,” Dr Apaak lamented.
The Lawmaker blamed the situation on corruption in the forest sector.
A report on corruption in the forest sector of Ghana laid by Ghana Integrity Initiative ,GII,in 2016 pointed out widespread corruption in the sector with a call on government to eradicate the endemic corruption to help protect natural resources .