The Government of Guyana embarked on a mission to improve the viability of the forestry sector through the export of secondary products, rather than focusing primarily on raw materials.
The strategy will ensure the sustainability of the sector, limiting deforestation by reducing the number of logs exported. It will also increase profits by enhancing the quality of wooden products sold on international markets.
Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, noted the policy revision during a recent televised programme, ‘The Guyana Dialogue.’
The minister was responding to a question about the logging sector’s increased exports in 2022 and its plan for sustainable forestry sector development.
He highlighted that the increase in log exports was due to the high demand for Wamara wood, particularly in Chinese and Indian markets.
Wamara or Yzerhart, often referred to as ‘Guyana Rosewood’ due to its lustrous, dense, and colorful nature, is one of the most exotic genera of tropical hardwoods and is filled with a variety of colourful and striped woods, most of which remain obscure.
“What we need to do is to ensure that we create markets for value-added products too, because some stakeholders need to look, or need to ensure that there is a market there for them so that they could venture into value-added, as opposed to exporting logs only,” Minister Bharrat said.
Since last year, the government has placed heavy emphasis on the switch to value-added products in the forestry sector.
In February, President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali attended the launch of the DuraVilla ‘1,000+ modular homes’ project, which will see more than 1,000 pre-fabricated modular homes being sold to consumers locally, regionally and internationally.
While the product’s launch tied into the government’s commitment to providing affordable housing for Guyanese, it serves as a major revenue earner for the sector.
DuraVilla Chief Executive Officer, Rafeek Khan believes that Guyana can earn up to US$60 million annually from the export of timber houses.