A giant step towards formalizing Artisanal Milling

A giant step towards formalizing Artisanal Milling

Ghana - 07 August, 2015

To support the continuous training and operations of artisanal millers to curb illegalities and conflicts associated with chainsaw milling, whilst addressing livelihood and VPA issues, the EU Chainsaw milling project supported the Forestry Commission to purchase a modern wood processing equipment, an LT 40 WoodMizer. The equipment has been installed at FCTC which will now become the national training center for artisanal millers. The equipment was out-doored at the 13th Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue meeting of the project at FCTC in Kumasi.

The outdooring was attended by about a hundred and ten (110) people from over twenty (20) stakeholder groups within the forestry sector in the country. Notably among them was the Director of forest operations, Mr Alexander Buadu, who mentioned that is has become critical to transform the activities of chainsaw operators to work legally to save Ghana’s remaining forests. The director of FCTC, Mr Joseph Boakye, was happy to receive the equipment and said that aside using it for training, the center will also open the use of the machine to the general public. ‘We will also be interested in assisting members of Domestic Lumber Traders Association – who can purchase their own logs and we’ll process it for them… and those who have their own plantations, if they harvest, can bring it here and we’ll process if for them and charge reasonable prices,” he added.

Illegal chainsaw milling has over the years been a threat to sustainable forest management however meeting domestic lumber demands. Through the project’s multi-stakeholder discussions, Artisanal milling was identified and accepted by stakeholders as an alternative to illegal chainsaw milling. And, also to serve as an alternative livelihood for illegal chainsaw operators. The concept of Artisanal milling was developed and its piloting rolled out. Before and during the pilot, the capacity of potential artisanal millers was built in the areas of group dynamics and leadership, the techniques of timber milling and business management and marketing. Currently, there are five artisanal milling groups in the country; two in the Brong Ahafo Region (Akrodie and Sankore), one in Ashanti Region (Obogu), one in the Western Region (Insusiding) and one in the Eastern Region (Apoli Ningo). These groups have been accepted by forest concession holders to provide legal timber for their mills and therefore producing for the domestic market. However, some challenges have been identified in the previous pilots that need to be addressed. These include the access to raw material, elite capture of artisanal milling concept, abuses of the system, corruption and dwindling timber resources.

With this new equipment and an established training center, it is expected that more artisanal millers will be trained to join the piloting after which it will be institutionalized as the major means of feeding the local markets with legal lumber in the light of Ghana’s VPA implementation.

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