A team from Forestry Commission (FC) led by the Chief Executive, Mr. John Allotey, has conducted the European Union delegation in Ghana, led by the Ambassador, H.E Irchad Razaaly, on a visit to the Ashanti Region. The purpose for the visit was to assess progress made so far on the journey towards the issuance of the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) license by Ghana.
The visit started with a presentation by the Director of the Timber Validation Department (TVD), Mr. Chris Beeko, on the journey so far towards Ghana’s preparedness towards the issuing of the FLEGT License. He touched on the Legality Assurance System, the Wood Tracking and Decision Support System, activities carried out at a mill, among others.
The two teams visited the Bobiri Forest Reserve, in the Juaso Forest District of the Ashanti Region, where contractors working in the Reserve are strictly complying with forest legality systems.
Mr. John Allotey mentioned that “We are here to practically see the processes the Forestry Commission and the District go through, how we take the measurement of trees, why we take what we take and the processes in terms of environmental governance here. We will be able to explain the processes to them”, he said.
The District Manager, Ms. Priscilla Asomaning, took the Team through the tree harvesting process, where she detailed out what goes on before the trees are harvested and measurements taken, how information about the tree is entered into the Wood Tracking System (WTS), among others. She mentioned that irregularities will immediately be flagged by the System, which proves its accuracy and reliability. The Juaso Forestry Commission Team demonstrated how the felling, measurement and capturing of tree details are done, much to the amazement of the EU Ambassador. “I feel solid

of the team, with the identification of even individual trees on specific plots and I have to say this is quite a solid system. We have a common interest with Ghana to work together to ensure a suitable and more sustainable exploitation of the forest and I am sure we will reach something which is agreeable to everyone in order to preserve these riches which will benefit the entire population of the country”, he said.

The Team also visited the chiefs, elders and opinion leaders of Kubease and Nobewam, some of the communities fringing the Bobiri Forest Reserve. Dr. Frank Ankomah, Verification and Field Audit Manager, Timber Validation Department, FC, speaking on behalf of the Team, informed the gathering that the purpose of the visit was to interact with the community and see how the Social Responsibility Agreement signed with FC is being implemented.
Mr. John Allotey thanked the chiefs and the entire community for the role they played in protecting the Bobiri Forest Reserve from illegal practices and said that was why the Team visited the Reserve to see things for themselves.
H.E. Irchad Razaaly added his voice to that of Mr. John Allotey, by also commending the chiefs and people in the community, and advised them to do more to protect the Reserve in order to achieve the issuance of the FLEGT Licence.
Nana Kwasi Botwe II, the Chief of Kubease, thanked the Team for the honour done them and the commendation. He however, requested for an upward review of the percentage of the SRA the community receives, to enable them undertake more developmental projects. He also requested that qualified indigenes of the community be given employment opportunities in FC. He further asked for a closer collaboration between FC and the community to continue protecting the Bobiri Reserve.
The Team visited the Logs & Lumber Limited (LLL), a key timber industry player, known for its strict adherence to good forest governance practices. Here, the team witnessed the processing of logs into plywood and other timber products, for the local and foreign markets.
Mr. Avedis Jeghalian, the Managing Director, stated that the company is most grateful to the Timber Industry Development Division(TIDD) of FC for its help in ensuring that LLL timber logs are rightly sourced, in full compliance of the forest legality laws so its products are accepted on the local and foreign markets.