Sustainable Livelihoods

Alternative Carving Wood for Sustainable Livelihood in Ghana

Background

The current wood carving industry in Ghana, originated from an age-old traditional practice that has been transformed into a major commercial enterprise with enormous export potential. The main source of raw material is derived from natural forests, which now exist in isolated fragments. The current deforestation rate estimated between 65,000 – 128,000ha per annum, has impacted negatively on the supply of the raw materials that support the wood carving industry which depends directly on the exploitation of specific forest tree species such as Ebony (Diospyros), ‘Sese’ (Horlarrhenia floribunda) and ‘Kusia’ (Nauclea diderichii). Global increase in demand for carved wood products, combined with the diminishing source of supply of the raw materials from the forest has exerted considerable pressure on the raw material base, leading to the overexploitation of the target species utilized by the industry. 

The Alternative Carving wood for Sustainable Livelihood project implemented by WWF-WAFPO with funding from the French Embassy in Ghana aimed to improve the livelihood of wood-carvers, landowners and tree growers by ensuring sustainable source of raw material, creating new income generating opportunities and empowering the appropriate actors to access the globally competitive market by facilitating a shift from the use of the fast diminishing traditionally preferred forest hardwood species to suitable fast-growing plantation species such as Neem (Azadirachta indica) that could sustain the increasing demands of the wood carving industry.

Achievements
Through the alternative carving wood for sustainable livelihood project;

600 wood carvers in 7 carving centers in Ghana have been sensitized on benefits of alternative carving wood for carving through workshops and seminars.

Capacity building and skills enhancement training workshop on best practices in wood carving has been organized for carvers at Aburi.

Construction of a 20m³ solar kiln dryer at the Aburi Industrial Centre to facilitate the use of neem for carving.

WAFPO is facilitating negotiations between the Forestry Service Division (FSD) of the Forestry Commission and the carvers at Aburi for access to the FSD’s neem plantations.

The future

With the success of this project WWF-WAFPO seeks to:
  • Replicate the project in other carving centres in Ghana with focus on plantation development.
  • Establish groups of farmers with neem or other fast-growing species on their plantations and also facilitate the collaboration between these farmer groups and carvers
  • With the market preference for certified products, achieving FSC certification for wood carving products is necessary.
Wood carving at Aburi Industrial Centre, Ghana / ©: Elizabeth Danso / WWF WAFPO
Wood carving at Aburi Industrial Centre, Ghana
© Elizabeth Danso / WWF WAFPO

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