The issue of gender balance in the sawn timber industry has been highly regarded as very important despite of the many local barriers.
This was discussed at a half-day workshop organised for members of the Solomon Islands Timber Processors and Exporters Association (SITPEA), and Ministry of Forest Utilisation Division staffs this week in Honiara.
It is also noted from part of findings from auditing process and gap analysis for sawn timbers by Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Program (PHAMA) Consultants working on the value chain, gender and social inclusion analysis for the sawn timber sector in the Solomon Islands.
PHAMA Consultant, Ross Andrewartha said there is definitely room to expand milling licenses to more women.
“The analysis identified many women were participating in the sawn timber sector, debunking the myth that this is a men’s industry.”
He also noted the sawn timber sector as a value adding process is an important source of trade and holds potential to boost further employment for Solomon Islanders.
“It is many times more profitable than unsustainable logging practices and offers a viable long term alternative.”
He said the sector has already seen significant gains through the PHAMA program with the formation of SITPEA and the development of legal verification systems to ensure continued access to Australian and New Zealand markets.
“Improving access to technical training and streamlining milling licensing are two priority areas that would improve the sector.”
Ministry of Forestry and Research, Utilization Division Director, Julius Houria acknowledges the training workshop although short have contributed numerously to the local sawn timber industry.
Especially in help identifying solutions to whatever problems associate or may relate to the industry, he said.
Mr Houria also highlighted the importance of gender equality in the sawn timber industry as noted, an encouraging drive behind developing all aspects of the industry.
“I am grateful that this gender issue is highlighted. It is a significant achievement to reach for the sawn timber industry in the country.
“The Utilisation Division within the Ministry is doing this and is proud to taking the lead on gender balance in the sawn timber industry,” he said.
He said this should encourage more women involvement in the near future for Solomon Islands Timber Processors and Exporters Association (SITPEA) members.
Forestry and Research Permanent Secretary, Vaeno Vigulu also noted one of the DCC Government’s priority Policy objective areas is downstream processing.
The Ministry is working on developing the timber industry and is investigating further opportunities for adding values to the sawn timber.
To enter into different product markets and generate higher revenues compared to round log exports in terms of dollar per cubic metre, he said
More so, in looking into capturing alternatives so that there are options for resource owners to participate in revenue generation and opportunities for those who want to venture into timber value adding and end products businesses, added the Permanent Secretary
Mr Vigulu said such business opportunities can contribute to broaden the base of our growing economy.
– MoFR Press