Stakeholders in the wood and timber industry have petitioned government to step in and salvage the sharp decline in the timber and wood industry.
The stakeholders lamented about the continual dwindling of this natural resources without commensurate reforestation aside the lack of the requisite skills in terms of artisans and industries to meet both local and international standards.
Mr Francis Wilson Owusu, an Officer of the Forest Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG) was unhappy that many of the technical institutions hardly received applicants to take up courses in that area.
“Structured courses need to be introduced in the tertiary institutions to generate home grown furniture designers that worked in accordance with standards and specification”.
The Workshop for the promotion of Standards in the wood industry facilitated by the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) falls under the UNIDO’s Trade Capacity Building Programme for Ghana with funding from the Swiss government.
Mr Victor Mills, the Technical Coordinator for the UNIDO said the programme came in two phases with the first phase being the building and improving on activities of the FDA, GSA.
He said the second component worked in the area of quality infrastructure with regards to standards, management information systems, standard development and testing laboratories among others.
Mr Mills said the fish, cocoa, fruits and wood industry was the main concentration for quality standard to facilitate export in a more competitive manner.
“Already, old standards in the wood sector have been revised as well as the promulgation of news quality standards for international and local trade”.
Professor Alexander Dodoo, Director-General of the GSA said Ghana currently has the best of testing equipment in the West Africa sub-region which meant that the country should be able to add value to raw timber export to increase domestic revenue.
“Anytime we export wood in its raw form….we are providing jobs for others in their country”.
Prof. Dodoo called for the setting up of more furniture parts centres, machines for processing and assembling beyond the artisanal level if Ghana could make any meaningful contribution in international trade.
Mr Peter Edem Zormelo, Manager, Trade and Industry Department of the Timber Industry Development Division, pointed out that developing the tertiary sector of the wood industry was critical to national development.
“We need to move from the rhetoric to action…build capacity, empower the young ones and capture the ECOWAS markets with over 360 million people”.