The government has put a complete ban on the export of rosewood from the country, closing all rooms from the current regime of rosewood export ban where people are able to take advantage of loopholes.
This is in line with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Rosewood remains a restricted wood species under Appendix II of the Convention, and Ghana has a responsibility under the Convention to protect these species by controlling their exploitation.
The ban, according to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, is with immediate effect.
A circular from the Ministry, signed by the Minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has further directed that “all confiscated Rosewood be auctioned only to the domestic market and that no person who acquires Rosewood at such auction shall be permitted to export it outside the country.”
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Minister also directs the Forestry Commission, to, while the ban remains in force, cease the issuance of CITES permits for the purposes of exporting Rosewood, whether the Rosewood was acquired legally or otherwise,” the circular further directed.
The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources is responsible for ensuring the sustainable management and efficient and effective utilisation of the nation’s lands, forests, wildlife and other natural resources for the socio-economic growth and development of the country.
According to the Ministry, it has taken notice of the unfortunate practice whereby some unscrupulous individuals, Ghanaians and foreigners alike, who harvest Rosewood illegally, manage to participate in the lawful auction of such confiscated Rosewood by the Forestry Commission, and then disingenuously turn around to export them to the international market.
It further noted that the practice encourages the illicit harvesting, transporting, processing, trading and exporting of Rosewood, in spite of the subsisting ban.
According to data from the Washington DC based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), 9,031,570 kilograms (kg) of rosewood, an equivalent of $ 5,663,782, were imported by China from Ghana in December 2020. This was at the time the ban on exportation of rosewood was still in place.
To tackle the surge in illegal and unsustainable harvest of rosewood, the government of Ghana imposed a ban on the harvesting and trading of rosewood.
The ban however had no impact on reducing the illegal rosewood trade, as available data by the EIA show that exports to China had been ongoing while the ban was in place.
According to the EIA’s analysis, 199,160,119 kg of rosewood, an equivalent of $124,073,247, were imported into China from Ghana since March 2019 when the last ban started.
The illegal activity was discovered through EIA’s Rosewood Revealed, a web tool created to enable Ghanaian citizens know the quantity and value of illegal rosewood exported into China from Ghana every month. The source of data, according to the EIA, is the Chinese Customs data based on the Global Trade Atlas (GTA).
In July 2019, the EIA released a ground-breaking report, titled BAN-BOOZLED: How Corruption and Collusion Fuel Illegal Rosewood Trade in Ghana. In the report, the EIA estimated that, since 2012, over 540,000 tons of rosewood – the equivalent of 23,478 twenty-foot containers or approximately 6 million trees – were illegally harvested and imported into China from Ghana.