History was made at Sedorm-Yiti in the Asuogyaman District of the Eastern Region last week when a Diver trained by the Kete Krachi Timber Recovery, Mr. Ebenezer Dornor Abayateiye, cut the first wood under the Lake Volta as part of the Diver-based timber salvage programme of KKTR.
The Diver, (logger), Mr. Abayateiye , had together with four others, undergone a training regime organized for them by KKTR under the instructions of Mr. Gibson Asorgor , a Senior Diver Mechanic of VRA in the last few weeks, to build their capacity in the art and profession of cutting stumps under the Lake Volta with hydraulic chain saw as part of the expansion programme of KKTR operations.
Until the Diver-based salvage programme, KKTR had relied solely on the use of a Shallow Harvest and Recovery Concept (SHARC) equipment, a Caterpillar-based mobile floating platform which locates trees by sonar, cuts and lifts them up to a barge on the surface of the water.
In the words of Mr. Francis Mawuena Kalitsi, Chairman of KKTR, “the Diver-based timber salvage programme will enable KKTR to offer over 160 more jobs for the youth from communities abutting the Volta Lake in addition to deepening the relationship and improving the welfare of the Fishermen as it draws heavily on the expertise of the Fishermen along the Lake”.
The other advantage of the underwater loggers, according to Mr. Elkin Pianim, Chief Executive of KKTR, is that: “The loggers are able to cut trees of bigger dimensions and lift them up to the surface by the balloon system – which the SHARC could not – in line with the KKTR’s objective of making the Volta Lake safe for fishing and transportation”.
Mr. Pianim said the underwater loggers are also an asset to commuters on the lake, as they will always be available to help rescue traders, schoolchildren and other passengers – including fishermen who may find themselves in danger of drowning.
Mr. Jacob Tetteh Ageke, President of the National Inland Canoe Fishermen Council (NICFC), the umbrella-body for the thousands of fishermen who ply their trade on the lake, expressed appreciation to the management of KKTR for their good intentions toward the communities and fishermen who live by the Volta Lake.
The construction of Lake Volta in 1964 submerged an estimated 14 million cubic metres of recoverable submerged hardwood, for which KKTR – a wholly Ghanaian-owned company – has the concession to salvage.
Mr. Staphen Anani Ahorli, an Environmentalist of the Friends of the Earth (NGO) believes with Ghana’s forest cover reduced by 90% since 1900, salvaging timber from the Volta Lake by KKTR will enable Ghana to improve timber exports while protecting and saving the natural forest cover.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in November 2018, inaugurated the company at its Project site at Sedorm-Yiti as a One District, One Factory (1D1F) project for the Asuogyaman district of the Eastern Region.