The Mozambican government is proposing a total ban on all exports of unprocessed logs, regardless of the tree species from which they come, reports Tuesday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”.
The national director of forests in the Ministry of Land, Environment and Rural Development, Xavier Sakambuera, told the paper a bill on this matter has already been drafted and deposited with the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic.
There have been many haphazard attempts in the past to outlaw the export of logs from particular species of hardwoods, but this would be the first blanket ban on the export of all logs. As such it is bound to meet with ferocious opposition from logging interests, who are busy destroying Mozambique’s forests to sell unprocessed wood to foreign buyers, often from China.
A complete ban means that forest wardens and customs inspectors will no longer have to determine what kind of trees the logs come from, since all log exports will be illegal.
Current estimates are that Mozambique is losing 220,000 hectares of forest a year. This is due not only to logging, but to the uncontrolled bush fires associated with slash and burn agriculture, and the clearing of land for building purposes.
Sakambuera said the government hopes a ban will greatly reduce illegal logging, and will create more jobs in the timber processing industry.
“There will be a modernization of technology in the timber industry”, he forecast, “which will add value to the product at all stages in the production chain”.
Sakambuera added that, with an export ban in place, the government hopes to harmonise the prices charged in marketing wood throughout the country.