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05.08.2005 Business & Finance

Woodworkers Association bemoans lumber shortage


Kumasi, Aug 5, GNA - The Woodworkers Association of Ghana (WAG), has appealed to the government to institute more stringent and aggressive measures to compel designated sawmills mandated to supply lumber to the local market to do so fully.

The WAG said as part of such measures, government should set up a monitoring team comprising all the stakeholders in the timber trade to check activities of the 74 designated sawmills to avoid diversion of lumber destined for the domestic market.

The appeal was contained in a statement issued by the Ashanti Region branch of the WAG and read out by its chairman, Mr Reynolds A. Debrah at a press conference in Kumasi on Friday.

The Association argued that stringent measures had become necessary because despite the directive and the law mandating the sawmills to supply 20 percent of all their lumber to the local market, the mills had deliberately failed to respond to the directive.

The Association observed that the failure was seriously threatening to collapse the businesses of woodworkers.

It expressed grave concern about logs and treetops that were left to rot in the bush that could have been useful for the furniture industry, "considering that we buy off-cuts from the sawmills" The WAG urged the Forestry Commission to set up a gang to help salvage logs that had been abandoned at leading bays and roadsides as well as the recovery of big tree branches for the local market". The Association was optimistic that such a move could help reduce the pressure on wood workers for lumber and also go a long way to beef up the scanty supply from the sawmills.

The WAG said in view of the fast depletion of the forest, which served as raw materials for its work, the Association was considering seeking the support of the Forestry Commission and other donors for the establishment of a forest plantation.