Guyana: Indigenous made to rely less on forest is not as good as capitalists relying less on forests

There is need for indigenous communities to diversify their respective
economies, in order to be less dependent on traditional crops – more
specifically, the forest. This is according to President Bharrat
Jagdeo, who recently told the media that he has always been advocating
for these communities to be less dependent on the forest.

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He told the media that, during the upcoming national consultations on his ‘Avoided Deforestation’ initiative, discussions about spending larger sums of
money in areas such as more fibre optic cables into the country to
reduce the cost of bandwidth, and getting more jobs for young people
will be addressed.  According to the Head of State, once jobs can be created, people would rely less in future on the forest as a source of income. He said that the idea of being paid for standing forest is to get the capital and
create some mechanism whereby the villagers themselves would
participate through technical discussions to transform the village

This will allow them, he said, to continue growing crops
that they need to eat, but also have some export potential or an
activity that would generate income for the village. Monitoring and
verification of the forest, he noted, is critical; but if the forest
is to be preserved, and if Guyana is going to get paid for doing so,
then the harvesting of trees will have to be scrutinized. This, the
Head of State said, does not mean that forest harvesting activity will
not take place, but it will be done under strict monitoring. “I have
argued that we have been cutting our forest for hundreds of years now
but we still have a dense forest cover because of the way we do it.

You have to get an exploratory permit, submit a multi-year plan, an
annual plan, before you touch a single tree,” he said, as he pointed
out the process. Beginning from January this year, timber companies
that do not have forestry concessions in Guyana have not been allowed
to export logs. This decision is in keeping with an announcement by
President Jagdeo to deter the exportation of the forest product and to
allow for more value-added activities in the country. The Guyana
Forestry Commission log export policy states that it is a mechanism to
encourage much more value-added production in the country. Over the
next three years, the GFC will be assessing the impact of this policy
and determine exporters’ processing capabilities.
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