Measures to promote sustainable forest development

Saturday, 2020-02-08 17:18:58
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Vietnam's timber industry set an export target of US$12 billion in 2020.
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NDO - The year 2019 marked the remarkable development of the forestry sector, including its deep global integration, the development and operation of national forest certification system and the afforestation under the plans.

They were important steps promoting the efficiency of the forestry sector, but also great challenges for the management for effective and sustainable forest development.

The development of national forest certification system

By the end of 2019, the total forest area with national sustainable forest management certificates reached 269,163 hectares in 24 provinces, including 10,000 hectares of forests certified under the national forest certification system. In addition, nearly 43,000 hectares of forests were newly granted certificates of sustainable forest management in 2019.

In the past year, the country planted nearly 240,000 hectares of forests, exceeding 12.6% of the year plan, including 11,000 hectares of protective and special-use forests and 227,000 hectares of production forests. In addition, the forestry sector and localities have actively planted scattered trees, effectively taken care of planted forests, and focused on forest protection. The localities have set plans to the afforestation, creating the sustainable linkage between enterprises and forest growers.

The localities also produced over 600 million seedlings, including 500 million plants sown from seeds and 150 million cuttings. The control of their quality has reached 85%. The area of ​​planted forests has not yet been subject to quality control mainly due to individuals and households investing and preparing their own seedlings for afforestation. More importantly, over 230,000 hectares of large intensive timber plantations have been planted from 2014 right up until the end of 2019, to serve the exports of timber and forest products.

In order to reach the goal of 220,000 hectares of planted forests in 2020, the forestry sector has instructed localities to actively plant concentrated forests according to set out plans and the national forest certification; also to boost the submerged forest plantation; and finally to develop available production forest areas to supplement legal timber resources to serve the high-value timber and forestry products production and processing for domestic consumption and exports.

According to General Director of the General Department of Forestry, Nguyen Quoc Tri, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is implementing the project of sustainable forest management and certification which was launched in 2019. The forestry sector has completed the dossiers for the cooperation with the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and has become its 50th member. The sector is also urgently completing and issuing dossiers and documents to operate the Vietnam Forest Certification system to ensure the compliance with international regulations and practices; as well as coordinating with the PEFC to select a unit for the evaluation of the national forest certification system.

The system is expected to be recognised by the PEFC in the second quarter of 2020. The forestry sector will cooperate with Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG) to promote the sustainable forest management and grant forest certifications to three rubber companies with total areas of 52,600 hectares, including 11,800 hectares receiving the national forest certification system.

Boosting exports of timber and forestry products

In 2019, Vietnam’s export value of forestry products reached US$11.2 billion, a year-on-year increase of 19.2% and exceeding 6.6% of the previous target (US$10.5 billion). The country’s forestry products were exported to over 140 countries and territories. The major export markets of forestry products, with an estimated total value of US$9.71 billion, are: the US, Japan, China, EU and the Republic of Korea, accounting for 86.5% of the total export value. Vietnam is currently ranked fifth in the world, second in Asia and first in Southeast Asia, in forestry exports.

In order to ensure the raw materials for exports, the forestry sector is focusing on constructing areas of wood and forestry raw material areas according to laid out plans and national forest certification. Many models of cooperative economic development and joint ventures in forestry production have been developed in localities. For example, the linkage between IKEA Group (a corporation of wood processing) and a wood processing and production company; the cooperation between NAFOCO and afforestation households in Yen Bai province; the connection between Woodsland company and afforestation households in Tuyen Quang province; the linkage between Scansia Pacific company and afforestation households in Quang Tri province; the cooperation between Woodsland company and five forestry companies in Tuyen Quang province. Quang Tri and Thua Thien – Hue provinces have established an association for owners of forests with forest certifications. This is the first model in the country, which has promoted effectiveness in forest plantation and management according to international standards, raising the benefits for forest growers and processing enterprises.

Up to now, domestic wood materials have satisfied more than 70% of the demand for manufacturing products for exports. The export value of forest products has continuously been raising rapidly (an average increase of more than 10% per year since 2012). Accordingly, furniture has the largest export value among the groups of wood and forestry products for exports. In order to be more proactive in sourcing raw materials for processing, creating competitiveness in the market, and improving the economic efficiency for forest growers, the General Department of Forestry is developing a project for the sustainable development for the timber and wood products processing industry; and continues to maintain the information exchange with associations and enterprises to timely grasp the difficulties and obstacles of enterprises in forestry exports.

In terms of market development, the forestry sector will also enhance the development of both domestic and export markets, with exports considered as the main strength. Vietnam’s timber and forestry products have appeared in many major markets in the world. Especially, the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance, and Trade (FLEGT) between Vietnam and the European Union (EU) has strengthened the forest management, addressed illegal wood exploitation, while promoting the exports of legal timber and wood products to EU and other markets.

Experts have said that Vietnam’s timber and wood products exports achieved a very strong growth in 2019 thanks to taking advantages of opportunities from major markets. This is the foundation to boost the country’s timber industry to set an export target of US$12 billion in 2020.

The forestry sector’s production value increased by 5% in 2019. In particular, the forest coverage rate reached around 41.85%, up 0.2% over 2018; the total area under afforestation was 239,152 hectares, reaching 112.6% of the year plan; 63.5 million scattered trees were planted, reaching 107.8% of the plan. Export value of forest products for the whole year reached US$11.2 billion (accounting for 107% of the target), a year-on-year increase of 20%. The whole country earned over VND 2.8 trillion from forest environmental services.