The Ministry of Natural Resources will seek to auction off excess logs as a relief measure for small scale loggers who have a surplus following a slowdown in the Asian markets.
Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman made this revelation on Wednesday when he stood before the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Natural Resources at Parliament Building.
Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman at Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Natural Resources. Behind him are Commissioner, Guyana Forestry Commission (left) , James Singh and Commissioner (ag) of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, Newell Dennison
Trotman noted that the forestry sector has seen a 15 percent reduction in total production as a result of the slow down on the international markets. This has left many loggers, particularly the small scale loggers with excess timber.
“We have started to provide relief to allow them to return to work,” Trotman explained. The Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) has been “excusing penalties and in other instances providing longer terms for payment,” Trotman added.
The GFC is also considering holding an international auction of the logs which are lying on the forest floor. “We may not be able to recover all costs, but I believe that we do owe it to the people who have cut (the logs),” Trotman said.
Meanwhile, the Minister said he is working with the Public Infrastructure Ministry to have, “lesser used species of wood to be utilised in government construction.” Trotman pointed out that there are other species besides greenheart that can be used in construction. This initiative is aimed at improving assistance to small loggers.
Trotman acknowledged that more awareness on the lesser used species of lumber would have to be done and assured that his ministry will continue to work with small loggers’ associations.
The forest sector has produced 166,000 cubic metres of lumber to date for 2016. The sector’s revenue earned thus far is $587M while exports have exceeded US$20M.