26 May 2006

Mozambique: Timber Businesses Demand Enforcement of Replanting

Maputo — The recently established Mozambican Association of Timber and Furniture Businesses (AIMAM) has demanded a stricter attitude from the government towards replanting trees and banning the export of logs, as a means of guaranteeing the sustainability of the sector, reports Friday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias".

This organization, which has about 150 members, and was officially registered on Thursday, is demanding that the government should enforce its own regulations on the exploitation of forest and wildlife resources, particularly on the major forestry concessions, to ensure that trees are planted to replace those felled.

AIMAM executive director Yolanda Fernandes argued that replanting is the main activity through which the sustainability of the exploitation of these natural resources can be guaranteed.

AIMAM intends to submit a proposal to the government to increase the tax on the export of unprocessed logs as a means to encourage the processing of wood inside the country, which will bring more revenue to the state and create more jobs.

A recent study by the Zambezia Provincial Forum of NGOs (FONGZA) concluded that the export of logs is depriving the Mozambican people of about 16,000 job in that province alone, as well as many million dollars in revenue for the state. It is also putting some species of trees at risk of extinction.

The association suggests that exports should not exceed 17,600 cubic metres a year.

"We are also going to propose to the government that it rethinks the licensing of this activity, which will help specialisation and quality control of Mozambican produce", said Fernandes.

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