DPI, GUYANA, Wednesday, July 26, 2017
The forestry sector brought in an estimated US$19M in the first half of 2017. Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, explained to the Department of Public Information (DPI) that the sector “is going relatively well and we are on target to bring in good earnings from foreign exchange”. He added emphasis is now “on sustainable development, sustainable use of our forest so Guyanese can expect less logs being shipped out”.
The Ministry of Natural Resources has been pushing for more value-added production in the sector. Minister Trotman said that “there is great interest” towards this initiative from the industry.
The Minister explained that the earnings thus far is less than previous years because one major exporter no longer operates in the industry. However, the Minister said, “Our local loggers have to raise the bar not just provide uneven measurements and crude cuts”. Local loggers are also expected to benefit from “the surge in demand” from the government’s housing programme which is about to come on stream soon.
The restriction on the importation of pinewood is considered as an incentive for local loggers to be more competitive on the local market. The Minister stressed that the restriction does not mean that pinewood would be banned outright from entering Guyana.
The Ministry of Natural Resources is currently conducting consultations to finalise the National Forest Policy and Statement. Minister Trotman said that these documents are expected to be finalised by September. “They can help us to formulate policy a little better”, he said.
Efforts are also underway to finalise the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union (EU). Adherence to the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) would mean greater access to European market for Guyana’s lumber, particularly greenheart. The VPA is expected to be finalised by the end of the year.
By: Tiffny Rhodius