No compromising of compliance in forestry sector – Minister Persaud
There will be no compromising on the issue of compliance within the forestry sector, Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud, told stakeholders yesterday during the Forest Product Development and Marketing (FPDM) Council stakeholders’ forum.
He said that while there is great expectation of the FPDM it is expected that these will transform the sector aiming at ensuring that the sector remains competitive.
Very soon, the Minister said, Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) would be required to review, update and prepare new guidelines manuals to ensure that there is compliance in the sector.
The forum, which was hosted at the Guyana Convention Center, Liliendaal, was aimed at brining together stakeholders to discuss the issues within the industry.
Minister Persaud said that the FPDM has a major role to play in President Jagdeo’s Avoided Deforestation initiative.
This role, he noted, will be aimed at moving this initiative forward not focusing only on timber resources but also non-timber resources.
He urged that stakeholders look at areas where there is need to strengthen while noting that it is in the interest of all that there is a commitment to sustainably manage the resources.
In 2007, 2008 and continuing in 2009, he said, the GFC was mandated to enhance its monitoring and also its enforcement activities.
“We believe that the sector has had enough time to familiarise itself with the guidelines and requirements but can only move forward, in the changing market situation, if there is compliance.”
There has been a lot of emphasis on sustainable management over the many years, he added, stating that the guidelines that have been developed by the GFC were developed through a consultative process.
At the same time, Persaud said, the needs and standards of the international market cannot be ignored.
“We are very satisfied that these guidelines are appropriate and relevant and necessary to make the forest industry viable.”
The role of GFC is not just to monitor and enforce but also to educate stakeholders on the guidelines within in the industry.
“We have been making significant progress in terms of compliance with guidelines in terms of the extraction of timber resources.”
One of the major concerns within the industry, he noted, is to examine ways to make the sector more robust and competitive.“The trend since 2006 is that the industry has been increasing its output in terms of income for the country and income for businesses….there is still a vast amount of potential that is yet to be uncapped,” the Minister noted.
The Minister urged members of the council to diversify their thinking in capturing new markets and not concentrate on a selective market while at the same time promoting other species of logs.