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FDA Fears War Over Forestland

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The Forestry Development Authority (FDA) Managing Director Moses D. Wogbeh has expressed fear over the contracting of contractors to do commercial logging on community forest lands.

Mr. Wogbeh said he hopes contracting the services of contractors to carry out commercial logging on community forest lands on a non-competitive basis will not spark off chaos and confusion in the future.

He said section 6.1 of the Community Rights Law provides that a community may enter into small scale commercial use contracts with other parties to engage in small scale commercial enterprises for timber and non timber forest products on community forest land.

He added that the law provides that commercial logging on community forest land should not be allocated on competitive basis and authorized communities to enter medium scale commercial contracts ranging from 5,001 to 49, 999.99 hectares for harvesting of forest products.

Mr. Wogbeh said the provisions (Section 6.1 and 6.2) in the Community Rights Law, which provide for no bidding process would create the possibility for communities to be denied and robbed of their just earnings on their forest resources because the value of said forest may not be known.

In an interview with this paper, the FDA Boss observed that application of Sections 6.1 and 6.2 of the Community Rights Laws is the greatest challenge posed by community commercial forestry and is a departure from the mandate of the National Forestry Reform Law Section 3.3.

The National Forestry Reform Law which mandated the enactment of the Community Rights Law Section 3.3 states that in granting forest management contracts and timber sale contracts, FDA shall follow the requirement of the Public Procurement and Concessions Act and other applicable laws.

Mr. Wogbeh further said “at section 5.3, land area of forest management contracts must be at least 50, 000 hectares and no more than 400, 000 hectares, while section 5.4 of the National Forestry Reform Law defines the land area of a timber sale contract at no more than 5000 hectares.”

The FDA Boss indicated that there is no record or incident that FDA had alienated any private or commercial land by force or trickery under this new dispensation or the New Forest Reform Law.

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