Ghana will start importing timber from Liberia next month following the shortage of logs in the country.
The country’s wood industry is near collapse and the move is expected to salvage the situation, the Domestic Lumber Traders Association, the mother union of woodworkers has said.
A five-member delegation from the union is currently in Liberia negotiating with players in the timber industry there for the release of thousands of cubic meters of the raw material to be sent to Ghana soon.
Ghana has over the years been a major producer and exporter of timber.
However, the continuous depletion of the forests has reversed the situation.
Data from the Forestry Commission indicates that about 65,000 hectares of forests are degraded every year and this has been getting worse over the years.
“The truth of the matter is our forest is gone. There is no more timber in Ghana. By the next ten 15 years, getting timber in Accra will be very difficult. So there is the need to import timber to keep our business going,” Joe Mann who is Greater Accra chairman of the association told Accra-based Joy FM.
“We have too many people who are involved in the timber business and so we cannot allow it to die. So, there is the need for us to import timber to keep our work going. We have our team members on the ground. They are negotiating with Liberian timber producers to bring in timber from there,” Joe Mann added.
He believed that the importation “will help reduce the pressure on the forests. We have over stretched the forests. When the timber comes in from Liberia, the over stretching will go down.”
“There is the need for government to look at re-planting but the government is failing. There is the need for the infant plants we have in the bush to grow. Nobody will be chasing the young trees if we are importing enough timber from outside the country,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Domestic Lumber Traders Association has said it has begun negotiating with the government to scrap import taxes on the timber they intend importing. This is to enable the logs to be affordable for sale in Ghana.