Forestry Commission head says; cites increased local demand for wood products
GUYANA’S forestry sector has shown robust and steady growth over the last three years, and remains one of the more important non-oil sectors in the country’s economy.
This was according to the acting Commissioner of the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), Edward Goberdhan, during a recent press conference at the Ministry of Natural Resources.
According to Goberdhan, the sector had seen a decline in production during the period 2015 to 2020, but over the last three years a gradual upscaling of production has been recorded.
He said that in 2022, there was over 10 per cent growth from 2021 and again in 2023 on top of that 10 per cent, there was additional growth of around four to five per cent.
Goberdhan added that the sector has shown robust growth over the last three years despite challenges of COVID-19, heavy rainfall and flooding in the interior regions, among other things.
He said: “So, we went through quite a difficult period, but we are happy with the good weather pattern and also the robustness within the sector, good government policies, board interventions, in terms of allocations and resource utilisation, we have seen strong recovery within the sector.”
Importantly, with the increased production, Goberdhan said that a lot of what is being produced is being consumed locally, as there is quite a huge demand for wood products.
Meanwhile, on the environmental front, the commissioner said that the deforestation rate has been very low and continues to be one of the lowest in the world. In terms of monitoring the forest, he added that they continue to have strong environmental credentials.
“We are happy to report that we have strong environmental credentials, both from the administration level of the GFC and a compliance level within the sector,” he said.
Additionally, Goberdhan related that one of the very important aspects of the sector is to push towards more value-added production.
Over the last two years, he said that the commission has been encouraging companies and investors to explore value-added production, while they have also been training small communities to get into furniture making and other small value-added projects.
“We have seen a gradual shift in persons investing in value-added[sic], using local timber and using a range of species, again non-traditional species to the sector. So, this is an area we will continue to advocate because it creates more employment, higher value for timber and [is] more environmentally friendly,” Goberdhan said.
Source: Guyana Chronicle