The Ministry of Agriculture has said that several initiatives are being undertaken to mitigate the impact on the forestry sector as it relates to the global financial crisis.
The Guyana Manufacturers’ Association has noted a marked decrease in orders of wood and wood products and a number of cancellations in orders.
Meanwhile, Go Invest CEO, Geoff DaSilva, had said that 2008 was a very challenging year for the forestry sector.
He added that when 2008 is compared to the previous year the export revenue and production for 2008 was less. However, Agriculture Minister, Robert Persaud says that one of the initiatives mounted was the formation of the Forest Products Development and Marketing Council which will lend essential marketing and trade advice, and trade support to the sector to complement the work being done by the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC).
He added that they are also encouraging greater levels of export of added value products to the large, geographically close, and trade beneficial Caribbean market and targeting key donor support to support industry development and added value manufacturing inclusive of quality control and assurance, efficiency and productivity.
In addition, building community and small and medium sized forest operators’ capacity to cope with increasingly competitive and often unstable market conditions; encouraging the targeting of niche markets (categorized by higher value small volume) instead of commodity markets (large volume markets) and strong relations between buyers and sellers.
According to the Minister, promoting the advantage that Guyana’s products possess in terms of export being derived from a system characterized by a strong chain of custody system in place is on the agenda.
The verification of legality of origin being enabled – brought about by a robust documentation system through the supply chain, field monitoring, and log tracking system is also on the agenda.
This, he added, will be a strong point of competitive advantage for forest products exporters from Guyana as the international market is becoming increasingly conscious of the need for high standards in legal and environmental SFM practices.
He noted that reduction in the cost of fuel (which is a large percentage of cost) will impact positively on cost of production.
Minister Persaud added that the GFC will continue to monitoring the external market environment through international contacts such as the ITTO and FAO.
This newspaper understands that the forest sector employs approximately 20,000 to 25,000 persons and export revenue is around US$55M to US$61M.
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