FoE-Ghana Engages John Bitar and Company Ltd on their Off-Reserve Logging Practices
Timby Community Forest Monitoring ProjectPublished : 26 August, 2020
Following reported cases accusing John Bitar and Company Limited of abuse of farmers’ rights in Nsowakrom, Borbokrom and surrounding communities, the company’s Managing Director requested a meeting between his company and Friends of the Earth-Ghana (FoE-Ghana). The meeting was to reflect on the reported issues and present an opportunity for the company to brief FoE-Ghana on the actions it has taken to address the issues. As one of the leading timber companies in Ghana, championing the issuance of FLEGT licence for timber products, the story was a serious bruise on their global image. Present at the meeting were the Managing Director, Certification Manager, Forest Manager, and Forest Coordinator, all of John Bitar Company. Also present was a sustainability expert who was there as an independent third party and the Project Coordinator of FoE-Ghana. The Managing Director outlined the initiatives being taken to address the serious rights abuses raised by the communities, and these include payment of compensation to aggrieved farmers, redesign of the agreement (Contract) forms, and sharing signed copies with the farmers. The company also promised to improve upon their communication and working relations with the communities and stressed the supervisors in charge of operations in those communities will be sanctioned.
Friends of the Earth Ghana was happy with the proposed initiatives of the company to address the issues raised by the aggrieved farmers, and promised to keep monitoring the company’s implementation of the proposed initiatives to ensure the rights and livelihoods of the farmers are protected.