Why is Bolivia loosing its timber/sustainable forestry program?

Marcelo Campos reports for El Dia:

Because of the low production of wood

50% of sawmills closed in Guarayos and Chiquitania

Forest. Imports of wood products exceed by $6.4 million the exports of the Department. The industry keep hopes in the 2013 season.

2013-07-27 02.36.03 pmAround 50% of the productive units of the Guarayos province and all of the Chiquitania in the Department of Santa Cruz has had to close, due to low production that has had the sector two years ago. Also, to May of 2013, imports at the departmental level of wood products surpassed exports, leaving a negative trade balance of $6.4 million, as the Bolivian Forestry Chamber (CFB) reported it.

Closing down of production units. Jorge Avila, general manager of the CFB, explained that from 2011 and 2012 there is a drop in timber production, situation currently influencing the closing of approximately 50% of the small and medium-sized productive units of Guarayos and the Chiquitanía. However, he said that they are optimistic in reactivating the industry with the 2013 season, because they expect the controls and supervision of the authority of control and Social Control of forests (ABT) to be more dynamic and agile. [big hope indeed, I remember that the former Forestry Superintendence did a far better job when it was operational. There was a time when Bolivia hold the first place in the world with sustainably managed natural forest! In less than seven years Bolivia has lost years of effort and achievements of projects like BOLFOR]

“The direct impact that has generated this problem is the closure of production units, mainly small and medium-sized sawmills.” We estimate that thousands are sources of jobs that have been lost. On the other hand, this has promoted to increase the import of forest products to the country, which is a very large damage to the national economy because it affects the generation of jobs and the flight of foreign exchange of the country”, said Avila at the time he mentions that they have entered into agreement with the ABT for better control systems for the production units that work in the harvest, which hopes to use about 2 million cubic meters this year, that is 600,000 more than in 2012. In this context, as reported by the President of the Civic Committee of San Ignacio de Velasco, Rony Roca, in that population, where there have been closings of 8 of the 12 sawmills working in that place, lowering the production up to 50%.

More import than export. According to the CFB, the import of timber products as of May 2013, in the Department of Santa Cruz was $19.6 million, while exports reached $13.2 million, so there is already a trade deficit of $6.4 million. The import of timber products from Santa Cruz representing 72% of the total. [Santa Cruz has the largest sources of forestry in country and yet imports… thanks to whom? I wonder…]

Meanwhile, according to the Bolivian Institute of Foreign Commerce (IBCE), the month of May this year, shows that Bolivian exports of wood and articles thereof were 11% less than in similar period from 2012 and 34% less than the month of May 2011, being United States 26% of the total, the main buyer of wood and articles thereof.

Is worth mentioning that this year there were exports to four countries less than in 2012 and compared to the 2011, we stopped exporting to 19 countries.


They hope to revive the forestry industry with the 2013 harvest.

Hope. Once started the harvest 2013 in an area of approximately 9 million hectares throughout the country and generating around 45,000 sources of jobs, the forestry Chamber of Bolivia (CFB) is hoping for a dry weather to reach more than 2 million cubic meters of harvesting. This with the aim of reviving the industry this year.

Areas where production units are currently working are the Chiquitania and Guarayos in the Department of Santa Cruz, Pando and North of La Paz.


Published by Bolivian Thoughts

Senior managerial experience on sustainable development projects.

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