Jan 24, 2015 News
– operators request similar benefits to other sectors
Large-scale forest companies and operators were called upon to increase value added production and harvesting since most forest operations are not fully utilising their allowable cuts as approved by the sector’s regulatory agency, the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC).
This call was made by the Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud, during an interactive meeting on Thursday with large-scale forest stakeholders. The meeting was to review the performance of the forest sector and to strategically place the sector to be more competitive in 2015.
According to Minister Persaud, specific emphasis will be placed on improving the operations of the Forestry Training and Development Centre and simultaneously, that of the Forest Product Development Marketing Council.
This year, the GFC will continue to enforce the rules and regulations of the sector. However, this will continue to be done within the flexibility of the sector’s policies and not to the extent as an enforcer, said Minister Persaud.
He congratulated operators and companies within the sector on their compliance efforts which saw Guyana maintaining its low level of deforestation as verified by independent international external audits. This is testimony to Guyana’s world class sustainable forest management practices. It speaks to a world class forest sector, a Ministry statement said yesterday.
In moving forward, Minister Persaud stated that the Government is open to suggestions and initiatives from stakeholders within the sector to improve on the sustainable management of Guyana’s forest resources. In this respect, stakeholders expressed the view that they should have similar benefits as other sectors, particularly for the processing of raw material for value added production.
Minister Persaud stated that the GFC and his Ministry would be willing to make representation following the submission of justifiable proposals from the sector, outlining support requests.
Further, in a presentation at the meeting, Commissioner of Forests, James Singh, said that the forest sector recorded significant growth in 2014, with production volumes increasing in the main product categories. Production in 2014 was 530,000 m3, an increase of 21 per cent over 2013 figures of 437,000 m3.
He also highlighted that exports of forest produce in 2014 was US$54M, an increase of 38 percent over the 2013 value of US$38M.
He further updated the meeting on Guyana’s Fourth Annual Assessment of Deforestation and Forest Degradation under the Monitoring Reporting and Verification System (MRVS) in 2014 where interim results show a decrease in the rate of deforestation from 0.079 per cent as the annual rate for 2012, to 0.068 per cent as the reported rate for 2013. Total deforestation is 12,702 hectares for 2013.
GFC also successfully fulfilled its 2014 deliverables under several other bilateral/international agreements for example, activities under the Guyana-Norway agreement; Forest Carbon Partnership Facility; the formulation of the Guyana- EU FLEGT VPA; MRVS Roadmap Phase 2, and meeting several independent audit requirements to the satisfaction of both partners and the international community.
Concession holders were also reminded by Singh of their sustainable forest management obligations and were called upon to increase the submission of forest inventories and implementable investment plans, to sustain the robust and effective compliance system of the Commission.
Additionally, the GFC will be reviewing the national log export policy through a consultative process with the members of the Forest Products Association and other stakeholders, to develop a new policy for implementation in 2016.
GFC will also continue to support the marketing activities of the Forest Product Development and Marketing Council, especially in promoting the use of selected Lesser Used Species as alternatives to the traditional species.
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