US$18.8 from timber exports for first half of 2019

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Guyana earned US$18.8 million from timber exports for the first half of this year, marginally down from the corresponding period last year, Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman said Wednesday.

However, he said demand on the local market has been increasingly fueled by expansion in the construction sector, leading to a 6.8 per cent growth in log production.

Trotman made the announcements while speaking at the opening ceremony of the budgeting/accounting training for the national steering committee of community forestry organisations. It was held at the Regency Suites Hotel in Georgetown.

Within the past few weeks, he said 61 concessions were awarded to small and medium scale local operators, including forest-based communities and local cooperatives.

Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman

But Trotman cautioned that despite the gains made, the story for some associations is not a rosy one, and he plans to meet with them on Friday about the future of community forest associations.

He said the meeting would be in an effort to make community forestry operations “safer, sustainable and more secure for all.”

“Forestry continues to be a significant contributor to Guyana’s economy, both as a source of generating revenues for the country and in terms of providing a livelihood for our people.

“Eighty-five per cent of our total forest sector production comes from small and medium scale operators of which, between 20 to 25 per cent come from indigenous and forest-based communities.

“This is a significant change in trend from pre-2016 when over 50% of production was coming from foreign operators and large concessions,” he stated.

He said the during the first half of 2019, the Government of Guyana through the Ministry of Natural Resources and its partner agency and projects have continued to facilitate activities and measures aimed at building capacity and creating a favourable environment for the industry to thrive.

He said the duration of leases granted to small concession holders has increased; areas less than 20,000 acres to three-year leases instead of two.

“This is intended to improve the planning and management cycle of small concessions thereby strengthening sustainable use of the areas and also improve the economic planning of forest production,” he stated.

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