Guyana’s log exports for the first eight months of this year have more than doubled compared to the same period of 2013.
According to the Forest Products Development and Marketing Council of Guyana Inc. (FPDMC) in its August 2014 Market/Export Report, a staggering 86,250 cubic meters of logs were exported between January and August. This earned US$14.5M. Last year, for the same period, 41,518 cubic meters were exports, earning over US$7M. This meant that log exports have doubled this year.
For this year, until August, log exports represented about 46 percent of the total forest exports as against the 30 percent for last year.
The increase of exports would have significance in light of the debate over logging activities.
The regulatory body, Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) has insisted that it has a handle on activities with harvesting still way below expectations and targets.
While Government has introduced a phased increase in royalties and taxes on log exports, there is nothing in the law to stop the trade.
There have been criticisms over what is perceived to be heightened activities by especially Asian logging companies, especially the Chinese and Indians.
According to the report, for August of this year, out of the US$2.27M earned, exports to China accounted for US$1.9M alone with 10,000 cubic meters. India followed next with US$311,000 and 1,537 cubic meters. Some 60 cubic meters went to Hong Kong in August, earning US$12,681.
The report said that logs continue to be in demand by the Asian market with a “valuable contribution towards the total export earnings for the month of August 2014. China was the top earner for logs with a solid contribution of total volume of 86.28% and a total value of 85.75%.”
It was around that time that there was significant media scrutiny on the forestry sector.
There had been questions especially over the activities of Chinese logging firm, Bai Shan Lin, and Vaitarna Holdings Private Inc., a company owned by India’s Coffee Day.
A five-year agreement with Norway signed in November 2009 that binds Guyana to protect its forests in return for up to US$250M in payment, had brought the spotlight down on logging and other activities. Strict measures are in place to monitor activities, Government said, to ensure deforestation is kept with the allowed margins. Authorities said that the deforestation rates have dropped.
Figures from the report seen by Kaieteur News indicated that for August of this year, there was a marked reduction of logs by total volume of 42.43% and total value of 34.86%.
According to the FPDMC report, the figures for August alone indicated that forest products continue to earn favorably, “making a sterling contribution towards the total export earnings during the month of August 14. Logs made a contribution of 54.48%; sawn lumber earned a fair share with 27.47%; round wood and fuel wood made an input of 8.51%; split wood absorbed a segment of 4.76%; plywood secured a portion of 4.66%; value added products made a marginal contribution of 0.11%.”
The month of August of 2014, in comparison to the previous month of July 14, recorded a reduction in the export of forest products earning by 24.67%.
“The comparative year to date figure of August 2014 and August 2013 recorded an increase in the total forest export earnings by 36.39%.”
FPDMC is a non -profit entity incorporated under the Companies Act of 1991. It replaced the Forest Products Marketing Council.
The main goal of the FPDMC is to promote and enhance the sustainable growth and competitiveness of the forest products industry through targeted industry development initiatives. These include, but are not limited to, the provision of support in product development and innovation, technological modernisation, market research and promotion, information sharing and networking, and relevant training. (See table below)
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