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World Teak Conference calls for commitment to teak research

BY: Timothy Ngnenbe
Prof. Victor Kwame Agyeman, the Chairman of the world teak conference, delivering his remarks at the closing ceremony
Prof. Victor Kwame Agyeman, the Chairman of the world teak conference, delivering his remarks at the closing ceremony

The Fourth World Teak Conference (WTC) has ended in Accra with a call on governments to commit more resources to research and development to advance the sustainable management of planted teak forest.

The conference said the research should cover investigation into the quality of teak wood grown in plantations as compared to natural forests.

A seven-point recommendations contained in a communique read out at the end of the conference underscored the need for countries to facilitate the availability of superior planting materials to private companies and local communities to improve the planted teak forest.

It was also resolved that there was the need at the national level to investigate the opportunities of linking teak plantations to carbon credit markets.

In the view of the participants, tapping into the carbon credit markets would provide additional incentives and support to the global effort on climate change mitigation.

Conference

The conference in Ghana was attended by 273 delegates from 28 countries across five continents.

Held on the theme: 'Global teak market: Challenges and opportunities for emerging markets and developing economies,' the biennial event was organised by the International Teak Information Network (TEAKNET), in collaboration with Forestry Commission Ghana, Africa with the support of the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO), Japan, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and Teakwood Working Party (IUFRO Div5.06.02) of International Union Forest Research Organisations.

The Chairman of the conference, Prof. Victor K. Agyeman, presented the communique to the government through the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Benito Owusu-Bio, who closed the historic event on behalf of the sector minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor.

The communique was also presented to the other 27 participating countries through their representatives.

More recommendations

Prof. Agyeman called on governments to facilitate capacity building for stakeholders, especially local communities and field workers.

He added that it was the view of the WTC that such capacity building programmes should be centered around management techniques, inter-cropping, agro-forestry and other important areas.

Furthermore, he said the participants resolved that it was important to establish confidence in teak investment with small holders and farmers through the provision of realistic cost-benefit analysis, market price information and enabling government policies and governance frameworks.

"We are urging countries to encourage small-holder growers to better apply silviculture techniques including the use of intercropping systems, in order to bridge the initial years without earnings from forestry," he added.

Prospects in teak plantation

Touching on the prospects of teak, Prof. Agyeman said the conference observed that although teak constituted only a small proportion of world timber production and trade, it had become a major component of the forest economies of many tropical countries.

The WTC further observed that the future of teak plantations held the future for the sub-sector given that the supply of quality teak logs originating from old-growth natural teak forests would decrease due to the impact of the log export ban in natural teak growing countries.

Successful conference

Mr Owusu-Bio described the conference as very successful as compared with the previous three editions. He said the government would adopt the recommendations made by the participants to harness the potential of the country’s teak sub-sector.