Wood tracking is live

The introduction of Ghana’s online Wood Tracking System (WTS) has been challenging, but it’s now on course for full roll out, according to George Kuru, managing director of system provider Ata Marie

The technology is an integral part of the timber legality assurance system Ghana has developed under its FLEGT VPA with the EU. Introduced in 2013, the WTS replaces the Ghanaian Forestry Commission’s paper-based system for forest inventory management and tracking, log transport, wood processing and export. Mr Kuru explained how the WTS registers relevant permits and tree and log information forms, enabling authorities to track wood in real time from harvest to point of sale or despatch abroad.

“When Ghana's VPA is fully implemented it will help provide the basis for issuing FLEGT licences to verified legal timber products bound for the EU,” he said. Field documentation is captured for the WTS using Android mobile devices and then uploaded to a central database in Accra. “Using open barcodes, the system links data though the supply chain and back to source, flagging discrepancies,” said Mr Kuru.

“Compliance requirements are recorded too, including VPA principals and indicators, backed by an audit facility.” Ata Marie says WTS IT systems are now established nationwide, with its forest inventory and auditing software fully rolled out and harvesting, transport and mill systems on track for implementation.