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07.07.2005 Business & Finance

Wood packaging materials need treatment

By GNA

Accra, July 7, GNA - The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) on Thursday announced that henceforth, all wood used as packaging material in International Trade must be subjected to internationally acceptable treatment to control any pests infestations.

This is in compliance with the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measure (ISPM) Number 15 of the Food and Agricultural Organization Guidelines for regulating Wood Packaging Material (WPM). Miss Clara Moore, Public Relations Officer of MoFA, in a signed statement said the ISPM Number 15 required that all wood used in International Trade should be given heat treatment until the core temperature of the wood attained a minimum temperature of 56 degrees centigrade.

The directive affects all raw wood packaging material that could serve as a pathway for plant pests that destroyed forests and timber. These are Pallets, Dunnage, Crating, Packing Blocks and Drums. The rest are Cases, Load Boards, Pallet Collars, Skids and Wedges. Wood products such as plywood, particleboard, oriented strand board, veneer, wood wool, shaving or raw wood cut into pieces not less than six millimetres are exempted.

In addition, WPM subjected to the approved treatment must display the unique internationally accepted mark.

The statement requested exporters in Ghana to contact the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate of the MoFA for the treated WPM to be stamped with an internationally accepted logo before they could be exported.

It said any WPM, which was not subjected to the appropriate treatment or did not have the special logo, would encounter problems on arrival at the point of entry of any country. Such WPM would be given the required treatment at the exporter's expense, disposed of or re-exported to the country of origin at the shipper's expense.

The latter being the only option used by the United States of America.

The Ministry, therefore, appeals to all exporters using WPM to comply with the directive to avoid inconveniences in their operations since non-compliance would not be tolerated, the statement said.

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