The Minister for Information, Hon. Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, who represented the Vice President of the Republic, H.E Dr. Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia at the opening ceremony of the 4th World Teak Conference, says Ghana is the destination of choice for investors looking to explore and do business on the Teak Market.
“Ghana is a land of opportunities right from pre-colonial days, we are a place where opportunities abound and as the world focuses on post economic recovery, and seeks to examine the opportunities in the Teak market, Ghana is the best place to do this”. He proudly established.
Speaking at the opening of the 3-day event held in Accra, from 5-7th September, 2022, the Information Minister highlighted the global market value of Teak, which he said is estimated around $400-600 million dollars.
The Minister for Information said for a product that takes between 10-25 years to reach its market potential, it requires tenacity, clarity with interventions, policy coherence and sustainability measures to survive it when producing it, stressing that the outcome of the three day engagement will help Ghana and the global efforts of the contribution of the Teak Industry.
“By the time you are done, our expectation is that we will receive a report which should guide global leaders on how to utilize the endless possibilities of Teak” he said.
Hon. Oppong-Nkrumah said with Ghana being the leading producer of Teak on the African continent, Government is intentional about enhancing its production in Teak, stressing that, Afforestation is a key part of Ghana’s strategy in building back the economy after the twin crisis of COVID 19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine War. “Teak is good business because it creates a lot of jobs and economic value for our people” he said.
Giving a brief historical antecedent of Teak to Ghana Hon. Samuel A. Jinapor, the Lands and Natural Resources Minister disclosed that the timber species was introduced around 1905, with seeds sourced mainly from India and Burma, now Myanmar. Adding that it was not until the early 1970s that the country started embarking on large-scale teak plantation development under the government’s Rural Development Programme.
He noted that under the distinguished leadership of President Akufo-Addo, Ghana has prioritized forest landscape restoration, and especially commercial forest plantations, anchored around teak and other timber species. “We are implementing an aggressive afforestation and reforestation programme, through the Youth in Afforestation Project, the Modified Taungya System, the Forest Investment Program, and quite recently the Green Ghana Initiative”
He further elaborated that Under the Green Ghana Initiative, for example on June 10, this year, the 2022 edition of the Green Ghana Day, Out of the twenty-six million (26,000,000) tree seedlings distributed, about five point two million (5,200,000) of them were teak seedlings.
He asserted that currently, teak is the most exported timber species from Ghana, both in terms of volume and value. “Last year, for instance, teak constituted fifty-four (54%) by volume, and forty-five percent (45%) by value, of all the forty-two (42) timber species and wood products exported from the country”.
Hon. Samuel A. Jinapor urged all participants to be actively engaged during the conference and to utilise this great opportunity, especially the Business-to-Business sessions, to establish strategic alliances and business networks.
He said it is his expectation that the outcomes from this conference will ensure more value-addition to teak products from the emerging markets and developing economies to improve rural livelihoods and returns on Teak investments in general, through a fair and transparent market system that equitably allocates benefits to all players along the value chain.
On his part, the CEO of Forestry Commission, Mr. John Allotey who delivered the Welcome Address said Ghana is privileged to host the world in Accra the Centre of the Earth for the 4th World Teak Conference.
He said the conference revolves around the Production of Teak, and the presence of key stakeholders from Academia, Researchers, Policy Makers, Exporters and Marketers is a testament of the great value and importance of Teak.
He used the opportunity to rally participants on the three day Teak conference to participate in the Field trip organized by the local organizing committee to explore Ghana. “our beautiful culture, warm and friendly people, delicious cuisines and peaceful atmosphere”.
The President of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations, (IUFRO) Dr. John Parrotta in his statement gave an overview of IUFRO and its linkage with Teak, adding that he is proud of the commitment by governments and organizations to research and invest into the timber specie.
He said as a proud partner and financier of the the 4th World Teak Conference, he is hopeful that the conference will afford participants the opportunity to connect, share ideas and contribute to the growing conversation on the opportunities and challenges of Teak on the Global Market.
In a Thematic Adress, Mr. Rahul Ahuja the CEO and Founder of Aaron Global gave a three phased presentation on the theme of the conference, naming his organisation as an exclusive Indian sales partner and the world’s largest Teak trader.
His presentation encompassed the Teak Market landscape which he said has a global plantation Teak Market of 1.4million geometric cbm per year, while disclosing that India is the dominant Market for teak in the world with 94% production capacity, and the other 6% coming from Vietnam and China.
Mr. Rahul Ahuja named a couple of uses for Teak, saying that up to 80% of the commodity is used for doors and door frames while the other 20% for Furniture and others.
The opening ceremony also afforded other World Captains in the Forestry industry to make some statements on the conference. These Captains included Mr. Walter Kollert, TEAKNET Steering Committee,Ms. Sheam Satkuru Executive Director, International Tropical Timber Organizations(ITTO), Japan and a Representative from the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).
Interluded with beautiful cultural dances, drama and poetry recietals, the Opening Ceremony, with the theme; Global Teak Market: Challenges and Opportunities for Emerging Markets and Developing Economies, saw over 300 participants from 31 countries across (5) continents – Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America, representing governments, policy makers, private sector, academia, professional foresters, researchers, development partners, civil society players and students.