By Mariam Naa Dedei Aryeetey
The Ghana Forestry Commission in collaboration with a Malaysia Artificial Intelligence Company has developed a mobile application for the identifying wood species in Ghana. The application which is code-named Xylorix Pocket Wood App, has currently identified about 105 wood species. This cutting-edge mobile application is the first of its kind in the whole of Africa.
According to the one of the Ministry’s Deputy Chief Executive, Mr Nyadia Sulemana Nelson, the Commission through Timber Industry Development Division (TIDD) has constructed three border offices in the Upper West and Upper East Regions, namely Hamile, Naamo and Zebila to regulate and enforce legal timber trade across the northern frontiers of the country.
He added that, timber leases and permits have made their way to Ghana’s Cabinet as part of the final steps towards conversion into Timber Utilisation Contracts. This is in line with completing its readiness to issue the FLEGT licenses.
The Commission may also adopt a national stock of woodland plantations to offer complete statistics at the boom rate, survival, cutting-edge and projected yield, and carbon sequestration of the installed woodland plantations.
As at the end of September 2021, the Commission had facilitated the export of a total wood volume of 224,599 m3 which resulted in a value of €103 million showing significant increments compared with the same period last year.
According to the second Ministry’s Deputy Chief Executive, Mr Allotey Ghana cannot fully comply with the requirements of the Ghanaian Law Enforcement System (GhLAS) under the VPA unless the issue of supplying illegal timber to the domestic market is properly addressed.
In this regard, the Commission continues to expand the implementation process of the Domestic Timber Trading Network (DoTTNet) to effectively regulate and facilitate legal lumber trade in the domestic market.
It also plans to develop a legal framework for the development of forestry in Ghana to create a safe environment to promote private investment in plantation forestry. It also amends the Commission’s operating procedures and guidelines on deforestation of afforestation so that the Commission can efficiently handle the vast quantities to be extracted from these farms and initiate the process for the development and promulgation of afforestation practices.
The Commission will also conduct a nationwide forest lands inventory to provide comprehensive information on the growth rate, survival, current and projected yields, and carbon sequestration in established forest areas.