Exporters warned against mislabelling Pericopsis Elata
Timber Exporters who mislabel wood from ‘’Kokrodua’’ also known in scientific terms as pericopsis elata and other CITES listed species for export have been warned to desist from the act.
Operations Director of the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission, Mr. Cletus Nateg said, ‘’there is no economic incentive in doing that as the system can easily catch up with such exporters”.
He explained that ‘’there are other experts out there who crosscheck and when they discover that you have a CITES listed species which has been misdescribed, you are going to lose the whole consignment’’. ‘’Even if they beat the system here they will not beat it out there’’ he added.
Mr. Nateg made the remark at an inception workshop funded by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) on the project, ‘’Improving sustainable Pericopsis elata conservation and trade regulation in Ghana’’.
Pericopsis elata is the number one indigenous timber species in CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) appendix II whose forest logging practice in more in danger. This means, trading in this species is not permitted without special authorization by the relevant authorities of the exporting country.
In an interview, the Ashanti Regional Production Manager of RMSC (Resource Management Support Centre) Mr. Kofi Affum-Baffoe emphasized that any wood from pericopsis elata found on the domestic market is from illegal source. ‘’In the last 10 years we have not officially earmarked any pericopsis elata species for exploitation so whatever people will see in the market are the leakages’’ he said.
He recounted that as it stands now, for sustainable harvest level of the species, one can only take a stem per annum.
The Director of Nature and Development Foundation (implementers of the project), Mr. Mustapha Seidu explained that though pericopsis is a restricted species, ‘’it is not illegal for anybody to harvest or export once you have a CITES certificate’’.
He said the last data collected on the species was 15 years ago and needed to be updated on whether or not it is in existence and also on the market, a purpose the project seeks to address. Mr. Seidu added that ‘’even if it’s being traded in the local market we want to find out what measure can be put in place to ensure that its continuous trade does not threaten its existence in Ghana’’.
CITES is an international agreement between governments to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival or are not over exploited and Pericopsis elata is one of such species.
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