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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Economic appraisal of forest policy in Ghana Boateng, Peter Edward Kodwo


Part I covers the historical development of practices and policy in the forestry sector of the Ghana economy. The introduction of forestry into a country that had just settled down to agriculture reveals the struggle between commercial and subsistence agriculture on the one hand, and commercial forestry on the other. The application of a policy that does not take full cognizance of local land ownership externalities heightened the conflict between the two major forms of land use. The analysis in this thesis shows that land reforms are required if enough land is to be put under forestry, and if soil conservation practices are to be adopted by farmers. Foundations on which classical forestry is built and principles of perpetual forestry as advocated by FAO and Commonweath Forestry Conferences are examined and criticized. Economic forces are recognized as determinants of the permanence of forests. The importance of the agricultural sector in the development of the industrial sector of the country is stressed. The role of the Ghana Cocoa Marketing Board and the Ghana Timber Marketing Board is criticized. It is concluded that both boards should allow market forces to determine economic values for agricultural and forest products; and that farmers' earnings should be appropriated by them in the first instance to allow for a rise in agricultural earnings which alone can create effective demand locally for forest products. Part II covers current practices in the forestry sector. Conduct of research, problems of industrialization in the light of existing tariff walls raised by the rich markets of the developed countries as well as the problems associated with an underdeveloped, low income economy, are surveyed. It is shown that the economy requires to be pushed forward on all fronts: research; skills; capital formation and markets, if effective industrialization of the forestry sector is to be undertaken. While the concept of maximum sustained yield has been rejected, the thesis does not unconditionally accept the objective of maximizing net gains from forest lands. The thesis accepts that forest policy has to be subordinated to the national economic policy objective of maximizing the national product per capita. Integrating national development and forestry plans ensures that the welfare of the people of Ghana can be maximized. The 'taungya' system of agric-silviculture has been analyzed and criticized. In its place plantation forestry aimed at creating man-made blocks of forests of commercial value is recommended. Integrated utilization of forest raw materials has been noted as leading to the maximization of the contribution of the forestry sector to the national economy. To ensure supplies of raw material to local mills, a Log Export Control Committee has been suggested. Finally, the thesis criticizes the practice whereby forest policy formulation is undertaken by the Forestry Department alone. The urgency of economic development, and the need for subordinating forest policy to national economic policy as well as integrating the two policies, require that, in addition to the forest service, other bodies with interests in the forests should be represented.

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