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Timber industry faces ripple effects of COVID-19

June 18, 2020 6:25 am
The timber industry is facing challenging times as both supply and demand for pinewood and chips have decreased. [File Photo]

The timber industry is facing challenging times as both supply and demand for pinewood and chips have decreased.

The Ministry of Forests confirms a shrink in the construction industry, a fall in demand of paper locally and abroad has had a trickle on effect.

Ministry of Forests Conservator Sanjana Lal confirms this is one of the worst impacts on their sector in the wake of the Coronavirus.

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“Wood supply, the actual wood supply dropped by about 28 percent and woodchips by 18.4 percent, woodchips are exported to two markets Japan and China.

Fiji exported three consignments of woodchips worth $21 million last month, but this is one shipment less than normal.

Lal says a drop in the supply of sawn timber domestically and to the Pacific markets is attributed to the current economic climate.

“There has been a shrink in the construction sector and that had led to a drop in pinewood demand and that’s by 43 percent.”

Permanent Secretary for Forestry Pene Baleinabuli says to keep the industry float Fijians can apply to sell timber destroyed during TC Harold.

“Any surplus from the timber can be sold domestically and it can be exported so hence the facilitation of the export license is within 24-48 hours.”

Amidst these challenges, the Forestry Ministry says the main suppliers Fiji Pine and Tropic Woods have re-strategized to retain all employees and workers have been diverted to planting trees for the time being.

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