GIFEX 2008 launched in Takoradi
Professor Nii Ashie Kotey, Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, said on Thursday that current trends in the country's timber industry required strategic innovations including the pooling of resources in order to remain competitive on the global market.
He as a result, he lauded the rebirth of the Ghana International Furniture and Woodworking Industry Exhibition (GIFEX) which aims at showcasing products that would propel the Ghana timber industry to the level of fully utilising forest resources through increased utilisation of diversified wood species. Prof. Kotey said these at the launch of the 12th GIFEX at Takoradi.
This year's GIFEX is scheduled to take place at the Ghana International Trade Fair Centre in Accra between 17th and 26th October, 2008 on the theme: “100 years of Forestry in Ghana: Networking partnership for sustainable development”.
GIFEX, a yearly exhibition introduced in 1985 to highlight activities of the furniture and woodworking industry came to a halt in 1997.
Prof. Kotey said the rebirth of GIFEX among others was an opportunity to bring key stakeholders in the industry together for networking with relevant partners to share knowledge and experience in order to make individual concerns more competitive in the world wood products trade.
“Local industrialists would also have the opportunity to see and learn new developments in the industry in line with the changing dynamics in the industry,” he said.
Prof. Kotey said Western Region had been the largest producer of logs for the industry and urged companies in the region to participate in the forthcoming exhibition.
Mr. Alexander Kingsfred Dadzie, Vice President of the Ghana Timber Association (GTA), mentioned loggers, millers, furniture producers, real estate developers, and bamboo and rattan furniture producers as among main target groups of GIFEX 2008.
He said GTA, Ghana Millers Association and some individuals were engaged in reforestation programmes in depleted areas to provide sustainable raw materials for the industry.
Mr. Dadzie urged stakeholders in the industry to join hands to save the forests from depletion and also asked those in the industry to participate actively by registering for stands and the forthcoming exhibition.
Mr. Kwesi Blay, Deputy Western Regional Minister said Government has demonstrated its commitment to preserving the country's forests through constant interaction with key stakeholders.
He said Government continues to encourage the Forestry Commission to preserve the nation's forest and wildlife resource and ensured their judicious and efficient use.
Mr Blay said it was a delight to see the revival of GIFEX and said it must be used a vehicle for the promotion of tertiary wood processing in the country.
Mr Henry Coleman, Acting Executive Director, timber Industry Development Division of the Forestry Commission, recalled the successes and achievements of GIFEX, which he said, significantly transformed the timber industry and gave it a big boost.
He commended the Forestry Commission for spearheading the rejuvenation of GIFEX as part of its support to develop the timber industry.
Nana Kobina Nketsia V, Omanhene of Essikado who presided said the abundant natural resources of the region must be made to benefit its people through development programmes.