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25.10.2008 Business & Finance

Coconut, palm waste to be recycled into wood

The Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG) has made a significant breakthrough in processing of waste coconut and palm trees into usable wood for the manufacture of various products.

Items that can be manufactured from the waste coconut and palm trees include tables, chairs, cupboards and beds.

Some of these products are on display at the 12th Ghana International Furniture and Woodworking Exhibition (GIFEX) at the Ghana International Trade Fair Centre in Accra.

A research scientist at FORIG, Mr Francis Wilson Owusu, told the Daily Graphic that coconut and palm trees that were more than 40 years old were suitable for use, and that the older the tree, the better the volume.

He said the institute had moved into discovering the trees as a result of the country's dwindling forests, adding that coconut and palm tree species were found in many communities across the country.

In a presentation at a seminar organised as part of GIFEX 2008, Mr Owusu said, "The forests of Ghana are “dwindling as a result of over-exploitation.”

The effects, he said, were that some industries were folding up, thereby creating unemployment, there was a decline in revenue generation, increase in illegal chainsaw activities, among other things.

Mr Owusu said with the new discovery, the institute would recommend the wood species to manufacturers and users of wood products, adding, "We are now at the promotional stage."

He said the wood from the trees was solid and explained that the institute had acquired a logosol machine for the milling of the trees into lumbers, noting that the machines could be used to mill the trees where they were felled.

With the discovery, he said, owners of palm and coconut trees could benefit substantially as they court to make money from the sale of the trees once they were dead or attacked by disease.

At the seminar, it came out that FORIG had also been successful in working on some of the timber species that were unknown or less used, with some of the timber species being adopted and available on the market.