Mozambican timber operators oppose logging ban extension as seized wood gets to be sold at auction
Rádio Moçambique (File photo)
The Ministry of Land, Environment and Rural Development (MITADER) Celso Correia, intends to change the current model governing timber exports, as the current one has proved detrimental to the interests of both the state and sector operators.
The minister says the new model will involve creating a new entity which will guarantee sustainable timber management by regulating its export.
“The logging closed season has therefore been extended for another three months until July 1 to enable discussion and eventual approval of the new mechanism,” the minister, quoted by the weekly Domingo, explains.
The decision is intended to be temporary, until Mozambique is able to consolidated its forestry industry.
“During this period we will have more effective supervision, and make sure that concession operators have real benefits. We do not want to manipulate or subsidise the business, but rather ensure its implementation,” the minister said.
Correia believes the mechanism will boost the revenue that the state collects from the current US$20 million to US$140 million. However, it will be necessary to review the legal framework to allow management and monitoring to occur in an integrated manner.
It will also be necessary to eliminate single license forest exploitation and create a complete value chain, including reforestation, with a view to crafting a completely different forest sector over the next two years.
It is a model that, if approved, will require greater supervision and will have to involve the loggers themselves to be sure that it is fair. “This is how it is done in other countries,” Correia said.
“If this mechanism is not applied, our country runs the risk of, in the coming years, becoming like Tanzania, where wood is no longer cut, and Madagascar, where one of the most sought-after commercial species has disappeared,” he added.
Mozambique currently has a permissible annual harvest of 500,000 cubic meters of wood, but 20 years it was only 200,000 cubic meters. The result is an annual deforestation rate of 0.58 percent.
The minister’s proposals were announced during the third National Meeting of Forest Logging Operators, held under the motto “Reflecting the Value Chain of the Logging Sector”.
The debate was very lively, with 57 requests for intervention still unanswered by the end of the meeting.
Correia lamented the behaviour of operators fined under the ‘Operation Tronco’, recently held in the provinces of Cabo Delgado, Nampula, Zambezia, Tete, Manica and Sofala, where it is estimated that some 150,000 cubic meters of illegally cut wood have been seized.Source: AIM Moçambique