Maputo, Mozambique, 9 March – Mozambique has 19 million hectares of forest that can be commercially explored with sustainable production of 500,000 cubic meters per year, said Mozambican Environment minister, Luciano de Castro Thursday in Maputo.
Castro, who was responding in parliament to a request for information by a member of parliament, said that commercial exploration of wood was not even close to half a million cubic meters per year.
Cited by Mozambican news agency AIM, Castro said that in 2002 production was 163,212 cubic meters and that in the following years this level had fallen – 113,125 cubic meters in 2003, 151, 711 cubic meters in 2004, 102,626 cubic meters in 2005 and 143,587 cubic meters in 2006.
According to the minister, obtaining firewood was much more worrying than commercial exploration of wood, estimating that the population consumed 17 million cubic meters of wood per year.
Castro also said that there were 118 species of tree that could be commercially explored, of which just 31 species were being used, which meant that “we are not using our potential.”
In 2002, the government banned the export of logs classified as Type 1 and that decision, according to the minister had increased the industrialization of the wood sector and consequently increased the exports of processed wood, which rose from 7,000 to 30,000 tons between 200 and 2005.
Castro admitted that Type 1 wood, which is of a higher quality, had been exported without being processed despite the ban, but said that forest rangers were responsible for this. (macauhub)