Forestry Commission exports $185m worth of wild animals, plants

BY: Nana Konadu Agyeman
Mr John Allotey
Mr John Allotey

The Forestry Commission (FC) facilitated the export of 279,532 wild animals and 2,114,184 m³ the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (cites) listed wild plants of Fauna and Flora in the last five years, valued at $185 million.

As of September 2021, the commission had also facilitated the export of wildlife valued at $2 million.

The specimen mostly traded in were live animals and CITES-listed plant species. The animal species included reptiles, pythons, other snakes, tortoises, lizards, as well as amphibians (mostly frogs), aves (birds), insects, a few mammals and other species.

The plant species exported included Pterocarpus erinaceous, cedrella odorata, euphorbia trigona and euphorbia poisonii.

Wood export

The Chief Executive Officer of the FC, Mr John Allotey, who disclosed this in a speech read on his behalf at a meeting with the media in Accra, added that the commission had facilitated trade for five companies and eight research Institutions.

“The commission had also facilitated, as of the end of September 2021, the export of a total wood volume of 224,599m3, which resulted in a value of €103 million, showing a significant increment, compared with the same period last year,” he said.

He said the Wildlife Bill, meant to regulate the wild life industry, had received Cabinet approval and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources had prepared a memo which had been forwarded to Parliament for its consideration.

Identification of wood species

Mr Allotey indicated that the FC, in collaboration with the Malaysia Artificial Intelligence Company, had developed a mobile application to facilitate the identification of various wood species in Ghana.

He said the application, code-named Xylorix Pocket Wood App, had currently been used to identify about 105 wood species.

“It is worth noting that this mobile application is the first of its kind in the whole of Africa,” he said.

Regulating timber trade

Mr Allotey said in a bid to regulate and enforce legal timber trade across the northern frontiers of Ghana, the commission, through its Timber Industry Development Division (TIDD), had constructed three border offices at Hamile and Naamo and Zebila in the Upper West and the Upper East regions, respectively.

Dwelling on climate change and related activities, he said the Ghana Shea Landscape Emission Reductions Project (GSLERP), which was developed by the FC and the United Nations Development Programme, in collaboration with Global Shea Alliance, had received approval from the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

The programme, he said, was a component of the Ghana REDD+ strategy.

“It has a total budget of $54.5 million, with a $30.1-million GCF grant funding and a $24.4-million co-financing from the Government of Ghana and the private sector.

“The project seeks to promote sustainable approaches to land use and forest conservation and enhance community-based resource management to stem the ongoing forest degradation and deforestation from illegal logging, charcoal production, agricultural expansion and illegal mining that threaten the forests and shea production system,” he said.

Corporate strategic plan

The CEO added that the FC would soon issue FLEGT licences, with timber leases and permits making their way to the Cabinet as part of the final step towards conversion into timber utilisation contracts.

“We are confident that Ghana will soon be ready to issue FLEGT licensed timber into the European Union, as well as legally sourced timber with sustainable qualities to the other markets,” he said.

A FLEGT licence is a document that confirms that a shipment of timber or timber products has been legally produced in accordance with the relevant laws of the country of export

He added that in 2022, the FC planned to launch the 2021-2025 corporate strategic plan, as well as strengthen institutional and regulatory frameworks for sustainable forest and wildlife resources management.

The plan, he explained, would also enhance law enforcement within forest reserves and wildlife protected areas.of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) plants in the last five years, valued at $185 million.

As of September 2021, the commission had also facilitated the export of wildlife valued at $2 million.

The specimen mostly traded in were live animals and CITES-listed plant species. The animal species included reptiles, pythons, other snakes, tortoises, lizards, as well as amphibians (mostly frogs), aves (birds), insects, a few mammals and other species.

The plant species exported included Pterocarpus erinaceous, cedrella odorata, euphorbia trigona and euphorbia poisonii.