Forestry’s 2021 – 2024 Economic Recovery plan to generate $400m
2021 and indeed
2020 were extremely challenging years for the Fijian Government, the Ministry and
the Fijian people. COVID-19 may have
knocked us down but we’re definitely not out as the Ministry of Forestry has a 3-year recovery plan that will focus on economic growth, improving incomes
and food security, while also ensuring that our forest resources are managed
sustainably, to be healthy for generations to come.
With tourists returning to our shores this month, 2022 will be our comeback!
According to the Prime Minister and Minister for Forestry “our Ministry is testament to this, as although we only have a budget of $13.2 million, by working with the private sector, we have already generated about $49million in export revenue in the first five months of this financial year, which is 39.5% of our targeted income. Our forecast is to generate at least $124million by July 2022 and $400million by 2024.”
This $49million was generated through the export of pine, mahogany and raintree. With continued support to the industries, export revenue is expected to meet or surpass the estimated target for 2021-2022.
First Quarter Review
At the Ministry’s first quarter review meeting on Wednesday 22 December, the Permanent Secretary for Forestry, Mr. Pene Baleinabuli acknowledged staff for their commitment to assisting the Fijian Government to contain the COVID-19 virus. He said, “the Ministry of Forestry had one of the highest (per capita) compared to other agencies to commit to the national containment measures by committing more than 60% of its resources.”
Despite the diversion of resources, the Ministry continued to operate efficiently at the various stations and from home to deliver and achieve 28% of the target work set out in the Ministry’s costed operational plan for 2021-2022.
“This is an exceptional achievement against the benchmark of 25% for the 1st quarter”, acknowledged Mr. Baleinabuli. He further urged the staff to continue to work together to bring to fruition the Ministry’s 3 year economic recovery plan which was developed at the beginning of this financial year.
The Prime Minister and Minister for Forestry who was also present at the first quarter review meeting said “we need to continue the momentum of re-energising our economy and our on-going efforts to transition into a progressive and prosperous Nation’’.
COP26 and 30MT15Y
The Prime Minister and Minister for Forestry further added that “as the Ministry’s work needs to be sustainable, one of the causes that I championed at COP26 is the Pacific's goal to keep the target of containing global temperature rise to within 1.5 degrees pre-industrial level.
In Fiji, our national goal of growing 30 Million Trees in 15 Years (30MT15Y) will help to combat the effects of Climate Change and also provide the opportunity for greater socio-economic development. The 8 million trees and mangroves planted across Fiji over the last 36 months greatly contributes to our commitment to end deforestation by 2030.
Tree planting also grows Fiji’s forest carbon stocks, which is one of the objectives of our Forestry Emissions Reduction Program. Other parts of the program include developing a sustainable forestry sector and promoting conservation to perpetually support our basic needs for clean water and air, and thus enhance livelihoods for communities and all Fijians. We may be a small island developing state, but our local efforts all add up in the global fight against Climate Change.”
The Ministry’s target to earn $400million by 2024 will be done sustainably with tree planting being made a condition of Harvesting License renewals. This condition ensures that all contractors replant the same number of trees that they harvest. Sustainable harvesting is a win-win situation for the landowners, contractors and the environment as replanting means that this generation has the opportunity to earn from their forest resources but also have peace of mind knowing that it’s not a one-off payment as the future generation can also reap this same reward.
Contractors replant knowing this corporate social environment responsibility means that their Harvesting Licenses can be renewed and sustainable harvesting also contributes to the 30MT15Y tree planting revolution and the fight against Climate Change.
The Ministry of Forestry would like to thank all its stakeholders, development partners, line agencies, NGO’s, Industries, Fiji Pine Ltd., Fiji Hardwood Corporation, communities and all Fijians for their contribution towards the economic, social and environmental efforts in the forestry sector’s restoration and recovery for 2021. Wishing you all a safe and enjoyable time this festive season, God bless.