FHCL Aims To Restructure Licences
Fiji Hardwood Corporation Limited has submitted proposals to the Mahogany Industry Council to restructure the mahogany licenses in Fiji.
The CEO for FHCL, Mr Giuseppe Dal Bosco, revealed this during an interview at the FHCL office in Mead Road yesterday.
Mr Dal Bosco said the proposals were approved by the FHCL board at its meeting on Monday.
“We are looking at re-evaluating the licence applications which is very important for the future of the industry” Mr Dal Bosco said.
“We have proposed a very objective and independent method to assess applicants and their applications. In addition, we have identified the responsibilities of both FHCL and the licensees relative to the terms and conditions of the licenses.”
Two licences are proposed to be issued for each of the five grades of mahogany logs, where previously only one was issued.
He added this would ensure harvested logs were transported in a timely manner to the mills rather than remain stacked in the forest for extended periods of time, which had happened in the past, causing interruptions to harvesting and results in deterioration of the logs.
“When Sustainable Mahogany Industries Limited, who exclusively held the licenses for Grade 1 and 2 logs withdrew last year, FHCL was not able to sell over 5000 cubic metres of logs as no one else had a license to buy them. The MIC subsequently issued FHCL with a special license which has resulted in sales of some $2 million.”
Mr Dal Bosco said to introduce additional flexibility for the sale of logs, FHCL was proposing what they termed “Cross Purchasing”, whereby a licensee may purchase logs for which they may not have a license, should the license holder of a particular grade not be able to buy them from FHCL within set time limits.
Nukurua, Tailevu Nursery
Essential to the sustainability of the industry, and as required by the Mahogany Decree, is reforestation. This has not happened since 2013.
Nukurua nursery is 2300 square metres set on a 7500 hectare site. It is one of FHCL’s 14 mahogany stations.
Mr Dal Bosco stated that FHCL had invested over $360,000 to establish the nursery which employed villagers from Sote, Savu and Nukurua. FHCL also provides technical expertise and training.
About 500,000 seedlings, collected from the best trees in the forest, are now ready for planting which is scheduled to commence within the next few weeks. FHCL will employ about 200 members from the Nukurua lease landowners to carry out this work. It is planned to plant 1250 hectares this year and up to 1500 next year.
Mr Dal Bosco also said the Minister for Forests, Ratu Osea Naiqamu would be visiting the nursery today.
FHCL is desirous of establishing a coordinated effort with the Ministry of Forests regarding reforestation and to sustainably manage the harvesting of mahogany.