State urged to lift ban on logging of timber - Daily Nation

State urged to lift ban on logging of timber

Saturday October 18 2008

By BENJAMIN MUINDI

The government has been urged to lift the partial logging ban to avoid wastage in forests and meet the country’s timber demand.

The Kenya Forest Service Board chairman, Prof Eric Koech, on Saturday said that rising demand for timber for construction and other industrial purposes has led to increases in prices, making illegal logging a profitable business.

In a statement to the newsrooms, he said that the ban, imposed nine years ago, has led to illegal logging in indigenous forest areas while exotic forest areas, planted more than 30 years ago, were ripe for harvesting.

“The current produce ready for harvesting is worth over Sh3.5 billion annually. This produce continues to decompose in plantation forest areas,” said Prof Koech.

He said that exotic plantations are in place to supply timber to the local market.

“The partial logging ban is strangling the principles of fair business practices and to step up fair competition it is prudent to lift it,” said the statement.

According to Prof Koech, the partial banning affects small-scale millers, leaving only four big actors to log, resulting in social tension among players in the industry.

He noted that the lifting of the ban would be supported by mechanisms already in place to ensure maximum value and utilisation of timber.

“The Service will provide technical support to timber industry business enterprises to assist in adding value to tree products,” he said.

He added that materials in Kenya’s forests are mature and that the Service is on the verge of completing a national inventory meant to boost plantation management.