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Ghana - 23 November, 2015
Tropenbos International Ghana has begun an initiative to link the outcomes of the Chainsaw Milling (CSM) Project with that of the Timber Legality Compliance and Advocacy Project (TILCAP) by building a symbiotic relationship between the two projects that would ensure that they support each other. Both projects are being funded by the European Union (EU).
Under the initiative, artisanal millers who have been trained to produce legal lumber for the domestic market under the CSM project will sell their produce to Small and Medium Scale Forest Enterprises (SMFEs) who have received training on the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) under the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) and are thus familiar with the requirements and processes for using legal lumber for their businesses.
Such an initiative has become necessary in view of the fact that the domestic market is still flooded with illegal wood from chainsaw millers which sell at a far cheaper price than legal wood from artisanal millers and hence attracts more buyers. This makes legal wood uncompetitive on the market.
In a similar vein, SMFEs trained under TILCAP who want to use legal wood for their businesses find it difficult to procure the quantity of wood they need due to its scarcity on the domestic market. Most of these SMFEs are involved in tertiary wood production including all categories of furniture, canoes and handicrafts among several others. By linking SMFEs under TILCAP with artisanal millers under the CSM project, artisanal milers will have a ready market for their lumber whilst SMFEs will be assured of legal lumber for their enterprises.
The initiative is designed to forestall the event of SMFEs trained under TILCAP being forced to use illegal wood due to their inability to find legal wood on the domestic market, and at the same time, curtail the risk of artisanal millers falling back on illegal chainsaw milling as a source of livelihood because they are unable to sell their legal wood on the domestic market.
As a first step, team members from both projects on November 10 initiated discussions with two artisanal milling sites, namely, Tornado Wood Processing Limited and Dovton Wood Processing at Obogu in the Ashanti Region of Ghana on the possibility of supplying legal lumber to the SMFEs trained by TILCAP.
Both sites welcomed the idea of being linked to a ready market, especially, in view of the fact that they have in stock suitable lumber for tertiary wood production such as carpentry and joinery.
Further meetings have been scheduled for the introduction of wood workers to artisanal millers to foster business arrangements that will ensure the supply of legal wood to SMFEs.