Ghana has established a wood and furniture testing centre at Fumesua, near Kumasi, as part of efforts to promote more value-added products and improve the quality of local furniture.
The new centre will enable growth of the sector through efficient utilisation of wood species, product development and standardisation.
It was set up by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). It is the first of its kind in West Africa and the third in the continent, after Egypt and South Africa. Switzerland provided the funding under the Trade Capacity Building (TCB) Programme of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
Alan Kwadwo Kyeremanteng, Trade and Industry Minister, in a speech read for him at its inauguration, called for Ghana to focus on value addition in the furniture sector.
Ghana’s furniture sector must also ensure sustainable use of the dwindling forest resources to safeguard the timber industry and boost the economy. Kyeremanteng further added that Ghana has high quality wood species available and with the new facility, businesses can now process and make products that meet international standards.
He cited the development of 26 new standards for the wood industry alongside the revision of nine existing ones. He also said promoting standardisation in the wood sector would increase market access of selected commodities.
Fakhruddin Azizi, UNIDO Representative to Ghana and Liberia, said the Organization will support the private sector, academia and government institutions in their activities. He called for investors to take advantage of the opportunities available to improve on the quality of their products and compete favourably on both the local and global markets.