Natural Resources Min. engages Reg. 10 loggers

─Forum on sustainable livelihoods hosted

DPI, Guyana, Friday, January 31, 2020

A symposium to discuss the crafting of a plan to achieve sustainable livelihoods in communities dependent on logging was hosted today in Linden.

A collaboration between the Ministry of Natural Resources, Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) and the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (REDD+Readiness) Project was attended by several Community Forest Organisations (CFO) in the Region 10.

Spearheading the talks was Minister of Natural Resources, the Hon. Raphael Trotman, Regional Chairman of the Upper Demerara-Berbice Region, Renis Morian, Acting Commissioner of Forestry, Gavin Agard and Coordinator of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), Clayton Hall.

Minister Trotman acknowledged that the forum was in keeping with a promise made in 2019 to sit with the residents and loggers to discuss not only the quotas of logs they could cut, but also how they could look at sustainable harvesting, preserving the forest, farming and tourism.

 “We want a partnership and that is something I will look at. I am also going to look at ways we can have more value-added done, so that we don’t only cut logs and send them to Georgetown to be shipped. For example, we can use the sawdust; all of these have value. So, we are exploring today how some these can be utilised as well.”

Issues of penalties and fines for loggers among other things were raised by participants during the discussions.

The Minister reminded that the Forest Commission is a regulator and therefore it has a duty to ensure that loggers and foresters adhere to the law, instead of them being find or having their licenses revoked.

Secretary of the Ituni Small Loggers Association, Linden Duncan, noted that as a means of maximising available resources, the Regional Democratic Council could award communities with small contracts to produce school furniture.

Duncan opined this would enable residents to utilise materials which are not qualified for the market.

“Most of the school furniture that is being supplied currently is made with compressed paper. Why not give us the opportunity to use those materials within our community as a means of starting up something that will enable us to maximize the resources, we have available?”

Meanwhile, with the aim of promoting agricultural practices in the district, the Natural Resources Minister distributed 200 fruit plants to those present. He noted that these will “provide for the residents in and out of the logging season.”