The Lands and Natural Resources Ministry has placed a total ban on the harvesting and exporting of rosewood. In effect, the Ministry has directed the Forestry Commission to suspend the processing of permits for the exportation of rosewood.
Although a ban was first placed on the harvesting, transportation, export, sale or processing of rosewood in the country in 2014, the phenomenon continued in some parts of the country.
Last week, a Joy News investigation titled, “Killing our Roses” was aired on its channel. The documentary highlighted the continuous illegal harvesting of the endangered rosewood species in the northern part of the country with impunity despite a government ban.
The piece will also expose the companies that have been fingered as being responsible for the illegal trade and put a spotlight on the impact that the illegal trade is having on local communities.
As at August 2017, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources had permitted 25 companies to salvage rosewood from the Brong-Ahafo, Upper East, Upper West and Northern Regions.
China is noted as a major destination of felled rosewood where it is highly valued and used for antique-style furniture. But currently, some companies are said to be exporting the rosewood using expired licenses, while some others have no form of permit.
The Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Kwaku Asomah – Cheremeh, believes the ban is necessary for ridding the industry of all illegal activities endangering the ecology of northern Ghana, where rosewood felling is rampant.
“Note that salvage permits were issued only for the evacuation of lying logs. Any fresh harvesting of rosewood trees is illegal and must be reported for the immediate arrest of the culprit,” Mr. Asomah – Cheremeh said.
He also said the issues surrounding rosewood had become “a national security threat” and appealed to the public to “to support the ministry in our efforts to regulate the exploitation of natural resources in this country.”
Clashes have been known to erupt around the activities of lumberers. In February 2019, Police in the Upper West Region arrested two people in connection with clashes in Funsi in the Wa East municipality which led to the death of two people.
The clashes ensued when some residents, acting on the orders of the assemblyman attempted to prevent some illegal lumberers from felling rosewood.