Afriyie Mensah, GNA
Kumasi, Feb. 27, GNA - The Forestry Commission (FC) says Ghana is close to obtaining the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Action Plan (FLEGT) license from the European Union (EU).
Mr. Chris Beeko, Director, Timber Validation Department of the Commission, is upbeat that the process would be completed this year, to pave the way for issuance of the license.
This would make Ghana the second country after Indonesia to receive the FLEGT license.
The West African country has taken measures to make sure that legally consigned timber get to the EU market and these include timber tracking and the setting up of a timber validation committee.
Additionally, the Timber Industry Development Division (TIDD) of the Commission has been designated as the licensing authority to deal with their EU counterparts.
Mr. Beeko was speaking to journalists after a tour of the Logs and lumber limited (LLL), a timber processing company, in Kumasi, with a delegation from the EU and officials of the FC.
The EU delegation led by, the Head, Ms. Diana Acconcia, was there to assess the progress the country is making as it readies for the issuance of the timber legality license.
Mr. Beeko said following the strong measures - system put in place by the FC, illegal logging had reduced drastically, especially, within the formal sector.
The system has been helping to identify stolen logs and making it difficult to sell or export such timber.
He said they had also upped efforts at restoring the forest cover through plantation development and rehabilitation of degraded forest reserves.
Ms. Acconcia said it was refreshing that companies like the LLL were capable of producing products in compliance with the EU market standards.
It has a 100 per cent of traceability of its products since the logs are from their own plantations.
In year 2009, Ghana entered into a voluntary partnership agreement (VPA) with the EU, which said that Ghana would be trading with the EU under licenses that are called timber legality or FLEGT Licenses.
The country has therefore in the last 10 years, been implementing systems that would enable us to be issued with the licenses.