The Kumasi Wood Cluster Association (KWC) in collaboration with the Chamber of Construction Industry and the Timber Industry Development Division of Forestry Commission have organised an exhibition of lesser-used and plantation timber products in Accra as part of an awareness creation programme under the theme ‘Emerging Wood Species Fit for Housing Development and Construction Works in Ghana’.

In his welcome address, the Executive Director of KWC, Mr. Gustav Adu, who is also a member of the Forestry Commission Board said the event is being organized primarily to serve as a business and networking platform which connects wood and wood product suppliers to high volume timber consumers in Ghana.

He explained that, timber has been one of the fundamental resources for infrastructure and housing development in Ghana. In recent times, this resource may appear to have become scarce, owing to over exploitation and lack of concerted reforestation strategy to replace depleted forests for sustainable supply.

He emphasized that, without disputing the phenomenon of scarcity for timber as a raw material, it is also the case that Ghanaian timber suppliers and consumers are excessively fixated on a narrow spectrum of timber species hence the apparent scarcity. Despite this fact, the availability of other timber species with comparable physical and technical properties have been variously documented.

The KWC thought it wise to scale up the idea of creating enough awareness on the availability and comparative use of lesser-used (LUS) and lesser- known(LKS) species for housing and construction after drawing feedback from workshops held for member associations in 2020, he added.

The Chief Executive of Forestry Commission, Mr. John Allotey indicated that the lesser used species promotion is one of Forestry Commission’s initiatives to combat illegal logging and achieve the environmental objectives of sustainable forest and management (SFM) while transforming the domestic marketplace into an industrial hub for the value added processing. The initiation of promoting commercial exploitation and the use of LUS and plantation timber in construction is therefore expected to enhance the availability and supply of legal timber particularly for the domestic market.

He added that the increase in demand for timber as a raw material for construction particularly in the real estate sector, puts a lot of pressure on forest reserves. Ghanaians and consumers of timber all over the world have a high taste for traditional tropical timber species such as Mahogany, Odum, Dahoma, Sapele, Masonia which are becoming scarce because of over-exploitation. To avoid complete extinction of these prime species and its consequent ecological imbalance, there is the need to shift attention from these few prime species by exploring the market potential of other timber species that may be of economic value.

The Chief Executive concluded his speech by emphasizing that to ensure adequate supply of legal timber on the domestic market, the Forestry Commission has introduced a number of policy interventions namely;

Implementation of Domestic Market Policy, which is aimed at improving legality on the domestic market.

Development of Public Procurement Policy on Timber and Timber Products to provide policy prescriptions for the purchase of timber and timber products by central government.

Introduction of procedural guidance that will facilitate the enforcement of removal of 100% of allocated yield of timber right holders.

Introduction of a new legislation, LI 2254 in 2017, which gives legal backing to the Voluntary Partnership Agreement(VPA) implementation and provide further measures to ensure the legality of timber not only for the export market but also for the domestic market.

The special guest of honor, Hon. Francis Asenso Boakye, Minister for Works and Housing buttressed on the importance of LUS in the housing sector. Given the current over exploitation of timber, the knowledge about LUS will help reduce pressure on the well-known species and also provide the housing sector several alternatives for construction purposes.

The Hon. Francis Asenso Boakye also took the opportunity to launch a book titled “ Compendium of some Ghanaian Timber Species” which showcases the lesser-used & lesser-known timber species; its names, location, uses and properties. 

The Deputy Minister, in charge of Forestry at the Ministry of Lands & Natural Resources, Hon. Benito Owusu-Bio commended the organisers for seeking to throw more light on the lesser used species that can be used in place of well known timber species. He continued to say that Ghana is blessed with abundant LUS that offer similar aesthetic appeal and perform just as well as many species that are already highly sought after in the marketplace. In the past the biggest problem related to promoting LUS has been the lack of information on their realistic mechanical properties. Today efforts are being made to provide abundant and reliable information on these species using evidence-based research on wood properties coupled with demonstrations of their applications such as this very exhibition that has been organized. He added that the import of this event is very critical as we need to bridge the gap between people who currently use LUS and the traditional timber species. “We need to kick-start a drive for the commercial usage of LUS particular”, he said. He duly opened the exhibition. The event was chaired by Tetrete Okuamoah Sekyim II, Board chair of the Forestry Commission. Also in attendance were some board members and staff of FC