The Export of Timber from Ghana

Ghana earns most of its foreign exchange by exporting timber, cocoa and gold. When it comes to timber export, the country depends mostly on the forests located in the southwest region. While timber exports earn the country substantial foreign exchange, from 1990 to 2005, Ghana lost nearly 19 million hectares of forest due to deforestation. According to available statistics, the annual rate of deforestation is 2 percent. However, the government has taken some steps to stem the alarming rate of deforestation by coming up with the Ghana National Plantation Project, which looks to plant 20,000 hectares every year.

The Export of Timber from Ghana

The export of timber and other forest products accounted for 11 percent of Ghana’s export earnings and 6 percent of the GDP in 2000. The formal sector is responsible for providing livelihood to around 100,000 people, but many more earn some form of income from the forests. Furthermore, around 2 million people depend on Ghana’s forests for customary and traditional lifestyles, such as collecting wood for fuel, wood carving, producing rattan goods and carving canoes. People are also involved in chainsaw lumbering, which is illegal in the country.

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In the recent years timber export has fallen, with 2010 seeing a fall of 5.4 percent. However, according to the Timber Industry Development Division, while there was a decline in the export, the country still saw an increase in revenue for the same period. In 2010, Ghana earned 137.9 million Euros through timber export, when compared to 128.2 million Euros in 2009.

Most of Ghana’s timber is exported to the EU, and some of the products in demand include sliced veneer, plywood, rotary veneer and kiln dried lumber. Other timber exports include curl veneer, boules, furniture parts and air dried lumber.

Ghana’s total export volume to the EU is around 45.04 percent, with the key markets being the UK, The Netherlands, Ireland, Spain, Belgium, Germany and France. The total export volume to the United States is 9.01 percent. The US is the biggest market for the exports of rotary veneers and lumber.

Ghana exports timber and wood products to its neighbours, namely Senegal, Nigeria, Gambia, Togo, Burkina Faso, Benin, Niger and Mali. Thailand, Singapore, China, Taiwan, Malaysia and India also add to Ghana’s foreign exchange reserves, with India offering the largest export market for teak lumber.


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