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Ghana - 01 June, 2013
Illegal chainsaw operators in forest communities could soon depend on improved charcoal production as a viable alternative livelihood. This is because Tropenbos International Ghana has concluded arrangements with the Forestry Commission (FC) and the Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG) to work together to enhance the contribution of charcoal production to local livelihoods and poverty alleviation while preserving environmental quality.
Charcoal production is reckoned as a lucrative venture and a major source of income to most rural households in the production areas and to other actors in the commodity chain. However, if charcoal production is to be managed as a sustainable and lucrative small or medium forest based enterprise to wean off illegal chainsaw lumber actors particularly in rural areas, it would be necessary to know the characteristics of the sub-sector, understand how it works and the nature of its challenges. It is against this backdrop that TBI Ghana and partners, by means of a joint project, will be generating pertinent information to help formulate relevant and realistic policies that ensure sustainable use of forest resources to improve the livelihoods of forest dependent people.
Under this partnership, the Timber Industry Development Division and the Resource Management Support Centre both of the Forestry Commission commit to providing raw materials (tree resources) and metal kilns while TBI Ghana and the Forestry Research Institute of Ghana pilot charcoal production as a viable livelihood option for chainsaw-dependent communities.
The project will build the capacity of chainsaw-dependent communities in charcoal production using the metal kilns as well as the establishment of woodlots. The capacity of existing stakeholder groups involved in the charcoal production and trade will also be strengthened. Beyond the multiple institutional collaboration, the project will also have the benefit of multi-donor support, drawing particularly on the kind assistance of the European Union, the International Institute for Environment and Development, the Dutch Directorate-General for International Cooperation and the Forestry Commission.