|SPC looks at sustainable development of Solomon Islands Forest industry|
|Friday, 26 February 2010 18:18|
Forest-based resources are integral to Pacific livelihoods – Solomon Islands is no exception. Forests cover over 80% of the country’s land area and are central to the social, environmental and economic well-being of the nation.
Forest-based industries are a major source of employment in Solomon Islands. Exports of round logs contribute over 70–85% of export earnings (valued at around 70 million Euros) and 18% of total government revenue.
However, the current level of harvesting of round logs from natural forests is not sustainable, neither environmentally nor economically. Without intervention, the industry faces severe and inevitable shortages in the near future.
In light of that, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) through its EU-funded Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade (FACT) project is assisting the Solomon Islands forestry industry, initially by engaging Salwood Asia Pacific Pty Ltd to conduct a study on the development of a market information system for Solomon Island timbers.
According to FACT Team Leader, Dr Lex Thomson, the study provides a foundation of knowledge as the basis for a market information system for Solomon Islands timber:
“The study focused on identifying sources of price information for Solomon Island timbers, value-adding options, marketing of flueggea poles in Australia and New Zealand, and new market opportunities for Solomon Island wooden handicraft.”
“The study also looked at exploring market opportunities for blocks of speciality timbers, such as ebony and figured timbers, and gathering preliminary market intelligence and trends for Solomon Island timbers.”
He added that FACT presently implemented one of the recommendations of the study and is currently working with Solomon Islands Marketing & Export Promotion Division, in the Ministry of Commerce, Industries & Employment, to update the booklet, Handicraft of Solomon Islands.
“The review and update of the booklet is aimed at increasing awareness of the wood carvings available from Solomon Islands in a bid to increase sales." An independent Technical Advisory Group selected two enterprises from Solomon Islands to be among the 14 Pacific enterprises that FACT will support.
These enterprises are the Value Added Timber Association and Village Eco-Timber Exporters. Both will receive technical and other assistance to improve the quality and range of their timber products, undertake greater value adding and manage their timber resources sustainably.
FACT complements efforts aimed at enhancing regional cooperation and integration. This includes the policy commitment of the European Union under the Cotonou Agreement to facilitate the integration of Pacific ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States) into the regional and global economies.