The programme, financed by the European Union (EU), and held under the auspices of the Working Group on Forest Certification, Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), is aimed at empowering the beneficiaries to enhance their livelihood.
This is expected to whip up their interest and participation in the Ghana-EU Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) implementation to engender good forest management and governance. Mr. Emmanuel Amoah Boakye, the Project Coordinator, said the workshop targeted fringe communities in the Bibiani, Sefwi-Wiawso and Juaboso forest districts.
While the VPA is largely anticipated to impact meaningfully on sustainable forest management, it has potential adverse effects on the social actors, who depend on timber extraction and trade for their living. Mr. Boakye conceded that without any security measure to serve as a social safeguard to manage the consequences, the programme would find it difficult achieving its desired objectives.
The Agreement is intended to tackle illegal logging by ensuring that wood imported into the EU meet legal requirements. Ghana’s forest sector, until recently, was the third largest contributor to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), however, poor forest management practices had depleted most of the resources with its attendant consequences on the environment and bio-diversity.
The Project Coordinator affirmed the Group’s resolve to engage effectively stakeholders in the VPA’s implementation for the benefit of the nation. Mr. Michael Kodwo Adjaloo, a Resource Person of the NGO, took the participants through the processes of bee-keeping and honey production, advocating massive investment in commercial bee-keeping, research and technology.
He said with all the ten regions having the requisite vegetation for commercial bee-keeping, such a venture would lead to the creation of jobs and increase in incomes to alleviate poverty at the grassroots.
He cited for instance, how the nation could use beeswax for many industrial purposes, and also sugar extracts from the honey for human consumption, saying, studies had proved that sugar extracted from this source remained healthier than the white sugar.