Wood transformation in the Congo basin
The great progresses in forest management in Central Africa provide by the way sustainable raw material. The growth of local and regional markets and the national economic issues, result in a growing interest of African governments to structure their local wood processing.
Consequences on employment, investments and tax revenue are promising. Recently some countries of the Congo Basin have clearly announced their intention to get rid of the export of logs gradually for the promotion of further timber processing.
These new structure whatever artisanal, semi-industrial or industrial therefore requires skills to support this change in a smart planned way.
EUTR: where are we now?
Unclearly introduced in March 2013 and initially without any support to timber importers, EUTR moved on slowly in Europe. It is clear that:
- The companies concerned have to manage their due diligence without any real idea of the application of legal texts.
- Set up by the various European governments are very different one from the others (resources, standards), far away from an expected a homogeneity within Europe.
- Some monitoring organizations propose now assistance and support to firms, to go this way without creating an own due diligence system.
- Time is now to be vigilant and requires skills to adapt to this new situation.
Priority to French timber and wood import
At the last edition of “Carrefour du Bois”, international wood products exhibition in June 2014, all visitors have remarked the heavy participation of French producers, thanks wide stands and strong communication. Promoting our local resource, emphasizing its quality and the expertise of its industrial sector is an excellent policy.
Nevertheless let’s add a few remarks related to imported timber:
- local and imported wood should not be considered as competitors but as complementary. Future of our material is under customer control, thanks a wide choice of species: most important is wood vs. other materials.
- ban of log export is as reality in a lot of countries, when some others are currently close to do the same. Why not France? Is it due to the so called “French exception or paradox” that slowly destroys our wood industry? Here is the real fight.
The future of French timber sector depends on its capacity of export not only on import limitation.
Expert skills on timber trade could for sure contribute to the success of local industry