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Myanmar to Reduce Teak Production Over Next Three Years
Author: Ei Thandar Tun
In an attempt to reduce the escalating deforestation issue, Myanmar is working to reduce its teak production to 24,000 tons over the next three years, according the Ministry of Resource and Environmental Conservation.
This is part of the government’s plan to increase forest coverage in Myanmar, the country plans to lower production by producing 10,000 tons in the 2019-2020 fiscal year, 8,000 tons in 2020-2021 fiscal year and 6,000 tons in 2021-2022 fiscal year.
“We plan to reduce logging because we want to reduce deforestation and climate change, we will do this by restoring the thick forests and an ecosystem that is rich in biodiversity,” said U Khin Maung Aye, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Resource and Environmental Conservation.
In addition to reducing teak production, the government will also lower timber production to 770,000 tons during the same three-year period: 300,000 tons in 2019-2020 Fiscal Year, 250,000 tons in 2020-2021 Fiscal Year and 220,000 tons in 2021-2022 Fiscal Year.
At present, Myanmar logs 300,000 tons of teak per year and 150,000 tons of timber per year. After the current ruling government took office, they started to reduce production by reducing 55 percent of the total teak production capacity. Additionally, they reduced timber production by 33 percent in the 2017-2018 Fiscal Year. In 2018-2019 Fiscal Year, they reduced to 39 percent for teak and 27 percent for timber.
Due to massive logging, Myanmar’s forest lost 1.7 million hectares between 2011 and 2013 reducing the total forest coverage to only 42.92 percent. Before, Myanmar’s forest coverage was 57.97 percent and 49.25 percent in 2005.
Seeing the deforestation issue, the government decided to stop logging across the country in the 2016-2017 Fiscal Year; but they resumed logging the next year. They made an exception though for the Bago Yoma mountain range which cannot be logged for a 10-year period; 2016-2026.
Moreover, Myanmar also banned log exports in March 2014, at the time they only allowed sliced wood, furniture and finished products.
Myanmar is preparing to sign Voluntary Partnership Aggrement (VPA) with the EU in accordance with the EU’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) in order to export timber legally to EU countries, they expect to sign the agreement sometime in 2020.
Other timber production countries such as Cameron, Central African Republic, Ghana, Liberia, Indonesia and Congo Republic are also at the stage of implementing VPA agreement. Countries who are now negotiating to sign the agreement are Ivory Coast, Congo, Gabon, Guyana, Honduras, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
Along with Myanmar other countries are still in the preparatory stages of the VPA, this includes Cambodia, Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Peru, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Syria.