Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman will engage the Ministries of Communities and Public Infrastructure to ensure that local loggers benefit from government projects.
The Iwokrama Sawmill is one entity that is adding value in the forestry sector.
Minister Trotman told the Government Information Agency (GINA), in a recent interview, that the engagements are part of promoting lesser used species of logs, while empowering small loggers.
The government’s new housing solution is one project from which small loggers can benefit, Minister Trotman pointed out. “It is our intention to ensure those small loggers and others are given the opportunity to supply the Government of Guyana with logs for homes, for rafters, for flooring and so forth,” Minister Trotman said.
The government has been moving the forestry sector away from just exporting logs, towards value added production. “We believe that we are doing well in terms of what is our allowable cut on a national and annual basis, but at the same time more monies could be earned if we process our wood better,” Minister Trotman told GINA.
There has been some level of value added production in the sector such as sawmilling and a plywood factory. However Minister Trotman envisions additional value added production of logs such as decking, flooring and veneers in the industry’s future.
Meanwhile, harmonising of the use of the forest is being streamlined with the revision of the National Log Export and Forest Policies. Minister Trotman told GINA that “tremendous progress” has been made in the review of the National Log Export Policy.
“There is a short consultancy which we are now streamlining,” Minister Trotman noted. The revision of the Log Export Policy seeks to strategically enhance the competitiveness of Guyana’s forestry sector.
While the current policy of 2009, aims at dissuading the export of logs while encouraging value added manufacturing of forest products, the Minister noted this was, “honoured more in the breach than the observance.” The revised policy will push for increased value added production and harvesting.
With regard the National Forest Policy, the Ministry has advertised for another consultancy “to refine those”, Minister Trotman explained. Updating the 2011 Policy will mark a significant shift in emphasis from the development of timber potential to management of the forests’ multiple down-stream goods and services for national benefit.
The implementation of the updated Policies is expected to be executed when the new Guyana Forestry Commission’s (GFC) board is appointed.