All is set for the launch of the Forest Industries Association of Ghana (FIAG), in Accra on Tuesday 29th June 2021, on the theme “Sustainability of the forest and forest trade in Ghana in light of global changes”.

Addressing a press conference, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of FIAG, Dr Kwame Asamoah Adam explained that, there is urgent need for business in the private forestry sector to operate responsibly by conducting business in accordance with modern best practices that also contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

This, he said, can be done better in an environment where there is healthy business relationship.

“However, the current situation of the sector is characterized by weak and fragmented front unable to strongly advocate for appropriate policy and legal framework, skills development technology transfers, self regulation and compliance to build good image, availability of trained labour, access to funds and regional and global trade facilitation”, he said.

According to the CEO, there is therefore the need to have a body that can be united to champion the course of the private sector of forestry.

“The Association will help provide unified voice-seeking government attention and public sympathy on issues, presenting platform for learning from wider experience and encouraging business to business engagement and ensuring product quality control”, he added.

Challenges facing the private sector of forestry

Dr Adam revealed that, the industry is faced with business challenges such as competing land use for agriculture, mining, settlement, infrastructure, increasing global demand for quality manufacture products causing loss of premium markets and inability to meet quality standards due to lack of funds to retool and adopt appropriate technology among many others.

“There are also global environmental concerns like global warming that is leading to climate change which is impacting on natural production of wood as well as many international conventions, treaties and regulations on forest management and utilization of forest products such as CBD, CITES, EUTR, Lacy of USA, FSC etc”, he said.

He said, locally, forest industries are required to comply with many rules and regulations all of which dove into international rules which also come at a cost.

All these challenges he indicated would be resolved after the official launch of the Association for the growth of the private forestry sector.

Membership of FIAG

Membership of FIAG is currently made up of associations identified to be in existence before 2015 when the process of unification begun. They are the Ghana Timber Millers Organisation (GTMO), Ghana Timber Associations (GTA), Furniture and Wood Products Association of Ghana (FAWAG), Wood Workers Association of Ghana (WAG), Ghana Sawn Timber Sellers Association (GSTSA), Domestic Lumber Manufacturers Association (DOLMAG), National Association of Handicraft Exporters (NAHE), Kumasi Wood Cluster (KWC) and Ghana Canoe Carvers Association (GCCA).

“Our regulations envisage the admission of other related organisations into our membership as may be deemed expedient by FIAG”, Dr Adam said.