General News of Wed, 11 Feb 20040

Bushmeat crisis is a major concern - FAO representative.

Accra, Feb 11, GNA - Mr Pape Djiby Kone, Senior Forestry Officer of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Africa Regional Office, on Wednesday said the exportation of bushmeat from Africa to Europe has become a major issue of concern to many African forestry experts as well as some European countries.

He said European governments had already expressed fear that such meat might contain diseases while poaching was depleting African forests of wildlife and putting endangered species into a crisis situation.

Mr Kone said Africa exported substantial quantities bushmeat every year to other countries and that might have necessitated the recent conference in UK over the exportation of bushmeat to European countries. Mr Kone expressed this concern when he gave briefs on the 14th session of the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission (AFWC) meeting to take place in Ghana from February 16h to February 21.

The meeting to be attended by over 80 participants drawn from 37 African countries is being organised by FAO in collaboration with the Ministry of Lands and Forestry.

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It would provide the forum for Ghana to exchange ideas with experts from other African countries on best practices of sustainable forest management systems and approaches as well as access to donor support for poverty alleviation programmes within the forestry and wildlife sectors. Mr Kone said discussions on the bushmeat crisis would be one of the major priority topics to be discussed as well as the issue of illegal logging, which was also a big challenge facing the forestry sector. Mr Kone said a code of conduct for forest harvesting had already been prepared and that it would be discussed during the meeting to seek the views of participants as to how it could be implemented by member governments in their various countries.

He explained that the outcome of the meeting would strengthen Africa's capacity to participate in the international dialogue on forestry to be held soon after the Accra Conference.

The AFWC, which was established to discuss key forestry issues concerning the continent, holds its meetings once every two years in a selected member country.

The last one took place in Gabon two years ago.

Source: GNA

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