The Kete Krachi Timber Recovery Limited (KKTR), operators of the Volta Lake timber concession, has petitioned the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources for a special dispensation to export quantities of rosewood that has been salvaged from the Volta Lake.
The construction of the Lake Volta in 1964 submerged an estimated 14 million cubic metres of hardwood.
The KKTR, a wholly-owned Ghanaian company, was given the concession to salvage the submerged wood, which posed serious danger to transportation on the Volta Lake.
KKTR, a One-District, One-Factory (1D1F) company, harvests 500 cubic metres of logs per week from the Volta Lake.
The Chief Executive officer (CEO) of KKTR, Mr Elkin Pianim, petitioned the ministry when a Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources in charge of Forestry, Mr Benito Owusu-Bio, inspected the Rosewood today (December 23).
The CEO said the company discovered that some of the harvested logs were rosewood, a tree whose harvesting and export had been banned in the country since 2018.
He, therefore, appealed to the government for special permission to export the rosewood to defray part of its operational cost.
"For us, we need to monetise every single piece of timber that we bring out because we have expended resources in bringing it out of the water; and the method we use in salvaging it does not have any adverse impact on the environment,” Mr Pianim said.
When asked the quantity of rosewood he anticipated, he said the company could not determine that until the project was completed.
"We do not really have any estimation of the quantity of rosewood we expect to find because it is only when we bring the timber out and examine them that we get to know what species they are,” he explained.
He said the exercise being undertaken by the KKTR was important because it had created other businesses, including charcoal production and firewood vending for residents of communities along the Volta Lake.
Mr Owusu-Bio, for his part, said he was impressed with the work done by the company.
He said the visit had been sanctioned by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, and meant to ascertain the reality on the ground to help in making a decision on the request made by the company.
The deputy minister said since there was still an outright ban on the harvesting and trade in rosewood, the request made by KKTR would be looked at critically to arrive at the best decision.
Lake Volta is the largest man-made lake in the world, covering 8,500 square kilometres.
About 3,500 square kilometres of it was a forest that had been submerged by the lake.
The KKTR concession to salvage the timber in the Volta Lake runs until 2031.