BY SAMIE WAIKORI
GOOD news for smallholding teak tree farmers in the country as the ministry of forestry announces greenlight for the export of the natural resource.
This is according to a statement received by this paper from the Malaita provincial forestry office in Auki.
“As the Forest Resource and Timber Utilisation Act (FRTUA) is silent on harvesting of established forestry plantations on customary land now privilege has given to teak farmers.
“Therefore, in order to do that the only provision that out growers can use to harvest their plantations or woodlots in the absence of an appropriate legislation or regulation is the Minister’s power provided for by section 4 1 (c) of the FRTUA.
“And using that power the applicants (company or association) can be exempted from committing forest offences from felling trees without a felling licence.
“Thus, the minister has instructed that under section 4 1 (c) permit will only granted to farmers if they met the following requirements through submissions to the office of the minister.
“Application to harvest forestry (teak) plantations or woodlots must be a registered company or association.”
Maps of the forestry plantation areas required and inventory data must be determined by a forestry officer with the tree growers or owners (diameter and volume).
Harvesting plan must involve detailed harvesting schedule, machines, labour, infrastructure, transportation, export point, export product (round log or processed product), environment protection and markets.
Benefit sharing model and investments that looked at revenue use for infrastructure, livelihood and development projects.
Consent is also required from each forestry plantation owner that includes list of plantation areas, owners name and signature.
In customary land where forestry plantations are scattered within tribal consent on the access and harvesting of plantation trees is required (addressing land ownership issues).
And there also a development consent required from the Ministry of Environment, Conservation, Disaster and Meteorology divisions.
According to the statement, addressing the required conditions in the submission will enable a company or an association’s application to dealt with accordingly.
It stated that the Exemption Order (EO) and the Legal Notice (LN) will include the required information and without their submissions the EO and LN will luck information and genuine.
The statement emphasised that assessment of all teak harvesting application are in progress and all application must meet the criteria before being granted with permission.