By Kiana Wilburg
The Asia/Pacific zone continues to be the largest market for Guyana’s forest products. This is according to the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC).
The Commission stated that for last year, China was the single largest destination for Guyana’s timber products, followed closely by India. The Latin America/Caribbean Region was the second largest market zone for Guyana’s forest produce. Within this Region, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados were noted as the major destination for Guyana’s forest product.
With regard to China, the Commission said that it is a major importer and producer of tropical wood products. The main sawn wood suppliers to China were Russia, Canada, Thailand, and the USA. The Commission said that the buoyant real estate market in China’s cities has significantly boosted demand for furniture.
As a result, China’s wood-based panel imports rose substantially. The Forestry Commission said that China is a potential significant market for tropical timber producing countries such as Guyana for not only log exports but also for primary processed products (sawn wood, flooring blanks, semi-finished furniture components etc.).
As for the USA, the Commission said that it is a major market not only for its huge purchasing capacity but also for its wooden house building culture. Despite reduced demand, the GFC has noted that the size of the USA market and its niches for tropical timber are still significant. It said, “Based on recent market reports, the USA is still the world’s largest consumer of plywood and timber products. Tropical timber species tend to occupy very particular and important niches in the US market.” The Commission added, “They are used in high-valued construction market segments such as furniture, cabinets, flooring, architectural woodwork, decking, mouldings and specialized industrial applications, such as in marine uses and truck beds. The wood flooring market has a strong correlation to residential housing due to the popularity of wood floors and the continued strength of new constructions and residential remodeling.” The GFC also spoke of Guyana’s potential in the European markets. In this regard, it said that Guyana is currently engaged in the European Union Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (EU-FLEGT) Action Plan Process. Plans are apace to commence issuing FLEGT licenses in 2017. Additionally, the Commission said that this would mean that the EU Market will be much more lucrative for Guyana’s forest products. It said that most EU consumers of tropical timber undertake significant local further processing and re-manufacturing, and therefore, generally import tropical wood products in primary and secondary forms. The Commission said that several major French timber companies have subsidiaries in former French colonies in West Africa (Cameroon and Gabon) and the Congo Basin (CAR and Congo), where they undertake primary processing (mainly sawn wood and rotary cut veneers) and export these products to France for further processing and re-manufacturing.
Officials said, “In all the major tropical timber importing countries, the common influencing factor for the demand of wood products is the building and construction sector. Most of tropical timber is used as structural components or used in applications where, due to their particular characteristics are preferred for use such as structural pieces, stairs, flooring, among other areas.” Over the past seven years, GFC said that forest sector has shown stable performance with production level of Timber and Fuelwood ranging from 382,000m3 to 530,000 m3 per year.
With regard to production of logs, GFC recorded 266,000m3 to 406,000m3 with export of Logs 62,000m3 and 138,000m3 per annum, representing between 23% and 33% of total log production. It said that production of other forest products such as Roundwood (Piles, Poles and Posts), Primary Lumber (Chainsawn and Portable Mill), as well as Split wood (Shingles), and Fuel wood (Charcoal and Firewood), have contributed to the total production level of the forest sector at the range indicated.
The Commission stated that the main added value products produce has been Plywood and Veneer for which production levels range between 14,000m3 and 41,000m3 over the seven-year period. Additionally, it was noted that export value of primary exports has ranged between US$39M and US$56M over the past seven years with the largest percentage of the total exports coming from Logs and sawn wood with a peak export value for Logs recorded at US$24.5M and for Sawn wood US$26M.
It said that added value exports have ranged between US$3M and US$9M over the 7 year period. The main products that comprise this category are Plywood, Furniture, Building Components, and a limited extent of craft items. This was documented in its proposed National Log Export Policy for the 2016 to 2018 period.
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