‘God-sized vision’ – Export of wooden houses could double Guyana’s forestry earnings
Believing that his new venture stemmed from a “God-sized vision”, Head of Dura Villa homes Rafeek Khan says that the export of timber houses can help Guyana earn some US$60 million annually from the forestry sector.
Khan, on Wednesday, launched the 1000+ modular homes project. Through this, he is building ready-made timber houses for local and regional buyers.
Already, the government of Barbados is procuring 100 houses from the Guyanese company. St. Vincent and the Grenadines is seeking another 50 houses and a Grenadian team is in Guyana scoping out the product.
“The housing demand in the region and even right here in Guyana is a God-sized vision,” a tearful Khan said as he declared his company’s ambitions to meet that demand.
But the sale of these houses is not a venture done in isolation.
Khan explained that the company leverages other wooden products created through the forestry value chain and he believes these houses are a crucial element in boosting Guyana’s forestry export, which remains well below industry capacity, given it encourages more value-added efforts.
“… less than one per cent of our forest is allocated to the production of timber resources. And of that one percent, we are only (using) a third of it,” Khan explained.
And so, he believes that much more can be done while still safeguarding Guyana’s forest resources, thereby maintaining Guyana’s environmental stewardship.
“We could double Guyana’s exports by the time we close this year,” Khan posited.
For context, Guyana earned about US$34.5 million from forestry exports at the end of 2022. What the Dura Villa Homes Head believes is that this figure can increase to US$60 million at the end of 2023.
This vision is one that was backed by President Dr. Irfaan Ali.
The Guyanese Head of State, who attended the launch, emphasised that the housing sector, both in Guyana and across the Caribbean, is one that is key to improving people’s lives. As such, investments in housing will get his government’s support.
“Our market is beyond Guyana now.
“We intend to give every support to the expansion of this vision and the expansion of this market in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM),” President Ali said.
Importantly, Dr. Ali also reminded the gathering that the forestry sector declined significantly between 2015 to 2020- resulting in the loss of significant export earnings and employment.
But he said his government is keen on vitalising the industry so that Guyana can benefit from it significantly again.