Socio-economic contribution of illegal chainsaw milling to the Ghanaian rural economy

Mon, 05/30/2011 - 18:05

The search for viable alternatives to illegal chainsaw milling in Ghana requires an understanding of the anthropogenic factors in the rural economy that promotes the practice. This paper investigated the
benefits of the practice to the rural economy of Ghana. Data was obtained from survey conducted on 102 chainsaw lumber stakeholders using questionnaire across 8 forest districts in southern Ghana and analyzed descriptively. Results showed that the practice contributes to the provision of employment, Community infrastructure among others. More than 50% of chainsaw operators earned up to 97% of their household income from the practice, and thus considered it as the best alternative to agricultural income. Farmers, land owners and traditional authorities received eight categories of informal payments from chainsaw operations. These included payments from sale of trees, commission on trees scouted for logging and compensation for crop damages on farmlands during logging. Also, taxes were paid at community barriers to enable passage of processed lumber to the market. Illegal chainsaw milling was found to be lucrative. This coupled with operators conniving with rural communities and the limited supply of sawmill lumber to the domestic market poses major challenges to eliminating the practice. To minimize the chainsaw menace to curtail revenue loss to the state, sustain livelihoods and forest resources, there is need to provide fiscal incentives to encourage regular mills to supply adequate lumber to the domestic market. Rural youth must be supported to establish commercial short rotation timber and fuelwood plantations. Also, equitable distribution of tree benefits to resource owners especially farmers must be ensured.

Responsible party
Forestry Research Institute of Ghana
Attachment Size
illegal_milling.pdf 1.38 MB