Guyana’s greenheart log exports still ‘on hold’, says ITTO

- but sawn lumber prices good

Export of greenheart logs from Guyana continues to be ‘on hold’ in the face of the sustained high demand for the species on the local market to meet the needs of the domestic building programme.

The international Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) which has been reporting the cessation of greenheart log exports in successive fortnightly reports for some time now has restated this in its most recent report covering the period September 1-15, 2011.

The cessation of greenheart log exports is alluded to in the ITTO report against the backdrop of what it says is a current review of Guyana’s log export policy the outcomes of which are to implemented next year according to the Guyana Forestry Commission. The review process, according to the ITTO report “will necessitate a national consultation to discuss limits on log exports and ways to encourage more downstream processing.

Robert Persaud

The September 1-15 ITTO report also alludes to recent forestry-related discussions held in Guyana among local stakeholders including the Forest Products Development and Marketing Council of Guyana (FPDMC), the Guyana Forestry Commis-sion (GFC) and the Government of Guyana. The discussions followed an announcement from the GFC that high local demand had resulted in an official to cease lumber exports from September 1, this year, an announcement that was subsequently rescinded following the intervention of Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud.

The main purpose of the discourse, according to the ITTO was to get stakeholders “to interact and share ideas and concerns on the potential impact of the unavailability of sawn wood in the local market and on greater utilization of lesser-used species.” The Agriculture Minister, the report says, used the forum to assess the challenges facing the local forestry sector with respect to evaluating domestic demand in order to allow for the planning of timber production by local concessionaires.

The ITTO report also refers to the forum’s focus on raising public awareness of the lesser known species of local timber “through comprehensive media advertising and education programmes as well as training for stakeholders.”

The report also alluded to stakeholders’ call that public awareness activities should be linked to “efforts by the government to promote and provide practical demonstrations” of the uses of lesser-used species. “It was also strongly recommended that there should be a building code” and that such a code “should incorporate standards and other legal requirements as well as addressing the issue of standardization of dimensions of sawn wood.”

According to the ITTO the workshop also highlighted the need for more training within the sector so as to improve the efficiency of forest operations.

Despite the cessation of local greenheart log exports, however, the ITTO September 1-15 report notes that the export price of undressed (select) greenheart jumped from US$806 per cubic metre  to US$827 per cubic metre while merchantable quality undressed greenheart attracted a price of US$530  per cubic metre on the export market.

According to the report, export prices for undressed purpleheart jumped from US$1,018 to US$1,548 per cubic metre, making this one of the highest prices ever received for this quality. Undressed purpleheart (sound quality) also attracted better prices and was traded at US$575 per cubic metre. Prices for undressed mora (select and merchantable) remained firm at levels reported in the previous report. Dressed greenheart experienced a dip in its upper end price from US$975 to US$933 per cubic metre during the period under review.  On the other hand, dressed purpleheart sawnwood enjoyed favourable prices on the export market reaching a high of US$1,200 per cubic metre in comparison to price levels in the previous period of US$890 per cubic metre.

The ITTO reports that roundwood export prices for piles and posts for the two week period under review increased. Similarly, splitwood received attractive prices on the export market, reaching as high as US$ 1,254 per cubic metre.

Meanwhile, the ITTO reports that washiba one of Guyana’s highly demanded species continues to attract favourable prices on the export market, the most recent price being US$2,500 per cubic metre.

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