Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ has insisted on a sustainable management of the forests and on promotion of timber exports. In his address to the seventh National General Convention of the Federation of Community Forestry Users Nepal (FECOFUN) here today, the Prime Minister said, “Various studies about forestry management suggest that Nepal requires around 60 million cubic feet of timbers annually to meet internal demands.
Domestic production of above 101 million of cubic feet annually is likely if the sustainable management of available forest is guaranteed,” he said, pressing an idea to export the surplus production. As he said, data shows that earning of over 120 billion annually is viable through the exports of timbers. The sustainable management of forests has potentialities of employing 1.3 million people directly on a yearly basis. Over 22,000 community forestry users groups in Nepal take responsibility for the management of a forest area measuring 2.2 million hectares (above 35 percent of the total forest area) with the participations of around 4 million population.
On the occasion, the Prime Minister said he was aware of complaints that amendments and revisions to the Forest ACT and regulations made at different times have caused policy hurdles and confusions in the management of community forests, adding that efforts were underway to address the concerns to this regard. “Community forestry user groups are concerned about the taxation provision in the sale of products of community forests.” He further added the sustainable management of community forestry would ensure additional benefits for the local community, increasing the collection of national revenue.
He took time to say that management of human-wildlife conflict was the concern of the government, promising the restructuring of forests, their conservation, management and promotion in line with the concept of federalism. He commended the role of community forestry to the adaptation of climate change and its mitigation. “We are yet to get the climate finance for the contribution to climate sustainability and the government will make efforts towards that end.” The Prime Minister utilised the programme promise to cooperate with FECOFUN closely in the days ahead in regard with the related issues.
“Economic development and prosperity are the major priorities of the government,” the head of the government said, underlining the need of having an economic upswing through the promotion of industries based on locally available resources and raw materials. CPN (UML) general secretary Shanker Pokhrel echoed the need of utilising the available forests for the cause of nation’s prosperity. FECOFUN Chairperson Bharati Kumari Pathak apprised community forests are marred the imposition of heavy taxes by the three-tier government, drawing the government towards the urgency to withdraw such situation.
The three-day event is attended by around 800 representatives from across the nation. In its establishment of 27 years, the FEFOCUN holds its six regular general conventions and one special general convention.