The 8th Baobab Market session has been held in Tamale with a commitment by members to intensify their advocacy to stop the indiscriminate felling of and exportation of rosewood from the country.
Members, therefore, have constituted a committee to lead the advocacy activities by engaging with stakeholders at community and national levels to find a lasting solution to the situation.
Rosewood is considered an endangered species hence a ban on harvesting of rosewood in the country but the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources continues to license companies to transport lumbered rosewood from the savannah regions where the companies later export the wood.
Records indicate that from 2004 to 2017, about 1,000,000 cubic metres of rosewood were felled in the country, a level described as unsustainable as the tree takes a minimum of 40 years to regenerate.
In 2017, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources lifted the ban on rosewood exportation and consequently licensed about 100 companies to collect 3000 cubic metres of lumbered rosewood for export.
Rosewood possesses a lot of economic and medicinal values and the unsustainable level at which the trees are being felled defeats efforts to conserve the environment as well as mitigate effects of climate change in the country.
The inability of government to perpetually ban the exportation of rosewood, which will prevent it’s harvesting, has become a source of worry to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and activists in the sector, who question the government’s commitment to conserving the environment.
Alhaji Osman Abdel-Rahman, Interim Chairman of the Baobab Market said NGOs in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions would continue to raise concerns about the indiscriminate felling of rosewood and its consequences on the environment and livelihood of the people to ensure that authorities took action to perpetually ban the practice.
The Baobab Market is a group of NGOs in the three regions of the north that meets to identify, discuss and adopt strategies to collectively address development challenges to enhance the wellbeing of the people of the region and the country at large.
Hajia Alima Sagito Saeed, Executive Director of the Savannah Integrated Rural Development Aid said there was need for authorities to show more commitment towards protecting rosewood because it was valuable to society.
Some of the NGOs that took part in the discussions included the Ghana Developing Communities Association, NORSAAC, Youth Alive, Rural Media Network, the media amongst others.