With Support of the EU chainsaw milling project, the Domestic Lumber Traders Association (DOLTA) in Ghana has been able to source funding from the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund. With this support, DOLTA, a key stakeholder in the ongoing Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue (MSD) process, will be able to undertake capacity building and advocacy activities in support of the agreed policy option: Sawmills and artisanal mills supply the domestic market with legal lumber obtained from sustainable source.
DOLTA currently has a membership of about 25,000 people made up of domestic lumber traders, table top machine operators, chainsaw operators and transporters in four regions (Greater Accra, Eastern, Volta, and Central) of Ghana. The association was formally known as Ghana National Sawn Timber Seller Association (GSTSA), but collapsed after 1998 as a result of the ban on chainsaw milling. In 2008, it was re-organized and legally registered as DOLTA with the commencement of the EU chainsaw milling project to be able to participate in the MSD process, engage government on issues related to domestic lumber trade and undertake afforestation programmes to sustain the timber resource in Ghana.
Throughout the discussions on the policy options for addressing illegal chainsaw milling, stakeholders observed that a few powerful stakeholders were not in favour of the consensus reached and feared that they might lobby government to reject the agreed policy option. DOLTA expressed the need to seek funding to advocate and lobby Government to accept and support the policy option agreed by the majority of stakeholders. DOLTA applied to BUSAC for support to undertake capacity building and advocacy action which was approved in October 2011. The objectives of the action are to:
- Educate and create awareness among policy makers, forest resource manangers, government, general public etc on the implication of the VPA on the domestic market, livelihoods and related entreprises under current forest policies and law;
- Engage policy makers to accept and support the agreed policy option for addressing illegal CSM and supply of legal lumber to the domestic market;
- Form a one association/federation of all lumber traders in Ghana to give more voice and impact; and contribute to the implememntation of actions for supply of legal lumber to the domestic market.
- Build capacity of Lumber Traders to benefit under the agreed policy direction.
DOLTA has so far visited all the major lumber markets in Ghana to create awareness on the agreed policy option and the proposed policy for supply of legal lumber to the domestic market; and initiated a process to establish one association/federation for all lumber traders associations in Ghana.
As part of the action’s activities, selected members of DOLTA, with a delegation from Ghana Forestry Commission supported by the EU chainsaw milling project visited Guyana where chainsaw milling is legal and regulated. During this tour the organization of the Guyanese domestic timber trade was studied and practical lessons learned.
It is envisaged that the action will result in a strong national lumber traders association capable of engaging with policy makers on issues on the domestic lumber market; representing the domestic lumber trader interests in decision making bodies, and; supporting actions for supply of legal lumber to the domestic market.