The Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) is hoping to strengthen its markets during the course of this year and has already commenced discussions to regain access to the United Kingdom (UK) for the marketing of Greenheart and other products.
According to the GFC, there had been positive developments in 2017 in this area, as a number of local exporters have been able to export Greenheart to the UK. Also, the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) between the European Union (EU) Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) which should be finalised by June of this year, will create greater access and more lucrative market opportunities for local forest products to the European Union (EU) and other markets.
At the same time, the GFC said, initiatives to expand local and regional trade of forest products by improving marketing, product development and quality will be prioritised.
According to the Forest Commission, this nation’s forests offer a wide range of goods and services, in addition to timber. The commission plans to further explore this potential to develop these alternatives.
It said the bilateral partnership between Guyana and Norway provides a platform for exploring similar opportunities. Under that partnership, an estimated US$30-40M has been earned annually. This, it said indicates the level of opportunity that may be available from environmental services and non-timber production.
Meanwhile, the GFC said it saw a total log export of US$14.6M in 2017, compared to US$16.5M in 2016. The highest revenue earner for the year was sawn lumber which recorded US $16.5M. Products which saw increases in 2017 are split wood increasing from US$1.9M in 2016 to US $3.6M in 2017 and plywood, which increased from US$1.3M in 2016 to US$1.4M in 2017.
The sector, the Forestry Commission said, faced several challenges in 2017, among them, the lower overall global demand, lower prices for tropical timber products and a general contracting of international markets (DPI).