Guyana’ forestry sector stand to benefit from a grant resource of US$500,000 from Compete Caribbean Cluster Project to improve the competitiveness of the forestry industry.
A consultant from the project is currently in Guyana working with key stakeholders to identify initiatives in which this money should be invested.
Project Consultant, Mr. Lars Soderstrom, together with some key industry stakeholders recently met with Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud to provide an update as it relates to Mr. Soderstrom’s discussions over the past weeks with forest communities and stakeholders.
iNews understands that the forestry sector applied, and was successful in tapping US$500,000 towards some priority initiatives to increase the competitiveness of the forestry sector in the short medium and long term.
According to Minister Persaud, the sector will be guided by the consultant as some of his suggestions based on consultations he has had, identified some key interventions that needs support.
“We recognise that the forestry sector, can do better, it can be much more competitive, but it had some perennial challenges, challenges in terms of access to capital, infrastructure, high cost of energy and that which restrict value-added, better skills and better marketing. In terms of addressing those, the study and the work being done on this project would identify some of the issues that we have to tackle in terms of becoming a lot more competitive,” said the Natural Resources Minister.
He pointed out that a lot of emphasis will be placed on training, capacity building, better marketing, and looking at more products so as to increase value and competitiveness and outputs.
While focus will be on the long-term activities that the forestry sector can engage in to improve efficiency, emphasis will also be placed on increasing the sector’s contribution to national economy which will simultaneously increase profitability for forest communities, and operators.
Mr. Soderstrom also had discussions with Amerindian communities, forestry groups and the Forestry Products Association.
He expressed pleasure working with the industry and stated that Guyana’s forest industry has an opportunity to grow and be more profitable. Meanwhile, he is optimistic that the Compete Caribbean programme can be the catalyst to bring in some investments and new ideas to the country so that the sector we can improve competitiveness and create new jobs and investment.
The objective of the Compete Caribbean Cluster Project is to enhance the competitiveness of the productive sector by supporting clusters and value chains to compete in regional and global markets.
As part of the project cluster, operations in the Caribbean are invited to apply for funding of up to US$500,000 for the development of a productive sector.