Nov 23, 2017 News
The forestry sector has been experiencing dismal performance in its production figures since the start of 2015. But what has become worrying to some officials at the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) is the fact that the sector continues suffer a hard blow to its overall export value.
For the year 2016, GFC noted that the total production of Timber products (Logs, Primary Lumber, Round wood, Fuel wood, and Split wood) was recorded at 353,495m3. This is 21% lower than the corresponding 2015 total.
This quantity, summed with Veneer and Plywood production for 2016, recorded a total of 380,659 m3. This compares to 452,954m3 in 2015 for main timber products, and with Veneer and Plywood added, the 2015 total was 483,702m3.
The Commission noted that this decline was partly as a result of less than favourable pricing conditions in the global timber trade, as well as production declines from concessions that have returned to the State. This included the largest timber concession which was issued to Barama Company Limited, for which the Company opted not to renew, following its lease expiration in October 2016.
Furthermore, the Commission said that the export of forest products recorded total export value of US$41.9M. When compared to the 2015 value of US$45.6M, this represents a decrease of 8.15%. The Commission said that the leading value earner for 2016 was Sawn wood with revenue earnings of US$18.8M. This was followed by Logs, which recorded export value for 2016 of US$16.2M. This was then followed by Round wood earnings of US$3.1M.
Within this category, Greenheart Piles has been the main contributing product with earnings of US$2.7M. Split wood and Plywood also formed part of the export product basket in 2016, although with a lower volume and value than that of 2015.
Of the two Split wood products (Paling Staves and Shingles), the Commission stated that the main value earner has been Shingles with earnings of US$1.9M. Plywood earnings for 2016 have been recorded at US$1.3M.
Additionally, the Commission revealed that the main markets for Guyana’s forest products in 2016 remained generally the same as that of 2015, with a few additional markets emerging in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean region.
The Commission said that it is significant to note that Guyana continues to feel the effects of the contraction in both China and India markets, since these two destinations are the major markets for Guyana timber products. Overall, the Commission articulated that the general price level for 2016 was lower than that of 2015 for the main forest products. This impacted on the overall export value for the year 2016, officials stated.
Furthermore, the Board of Directors of the GFC and the Ministry of Natural Resources, are working together to implement a suite of measures that will be directed at strengthening and improving the sector’s performance.
According to the Commission, these measures will be implemented in collaboration with the private sector and indigenous communities with whom there are continuous consultations.
The Commission noted that Guyana’s forest offer a wide range of goods and services, in addition to timber. It said that it is the intention of the Commission, working closely with the Ministry of Natural Resources, to further explore the potential to develop alternatives. These may include uses such as: conservation value, carbon value, non-timber forest products, etc.
The existing bilateral partnership on forest and climate between Guyana and Norway provides a platform for exploring similar opportunities. Under this partnership, an estimated US$30-40M has been earned annually. This indicates the level of opportunity that may be available from environmental services and non-timber production.
The Community Forestry programme remained a focal area of the Guyana Forestry Commission throughout 2016. According to the Commission, 69 Community Forestry Organisations (CFOs) were active in 2016, with one new organisation being formed: The Bartica Indigenous Green Enterprise.
The Commission explained that these CFOs had access to 472,002 hectares through 123 Community Forestry Agreements.
Estimated direct membership was 1465. There were 338 participants from 47 CFOs and Indigenous communities received various training in sustainable forest management practices during 2016.
GFC said that the majority of the training was done by the Forest Training Centre Inc. (FTCI) with support from the European Union Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (EU FLEGT) and the Board of Industrial Training. The Commission said that much of the training provided was in response to the request made by the various groups.
The Commission said, “Five Regional meetings involving the Chairpersons of all the CFOs across the country were held during August/September, 2016; at which the representative and alternate were elected to serve the respective administrative region on the National Steering Committee of Community Forestry Organisations (NSCCFO).”
It added, “The general meeting of the new Committee was held during December at which the executive members were elected and the work plan for 2017 was developed. GFC also participated actively in the 2016 National Toshaos’ Council Meeting. The Toshaos were generally satisfied with the work of the GFC.”
For 2017, the Commission noted that emphasis was placed on communities acquiring funding for value added activities, and improving governance at the community level.
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