News  |  22.06.2020


Impact of Covid 19 on timber trade

For more information on the progress of the spread and the disease situation: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

We bring you here, and will continue to do so in the coming weeks, the information provided by our members and partners regarding the tropical timber market and the activities of companies in Europe, Africa and Asia.

INTERNATIONAL

FAO is organizing the “Forestry Webinary Week on COVID-19” which will take place from 22 to 25 June 2020. It aims to Building back better: COVID-19 pandemic recovery contributions from the forest sector.

OBJECTIVES :

  • assess impacts of pandemics on people and forests; 
  • identify and discuss possible responses that help mitigate impacts on people and forests and help address the situation in the short term while at the same time contributing to building a more resilient and sustainable future;
  • propose follow-up steps, including policy dialogue and mobilizing of resources and action that better enables the forest sector to help rebuild sustainable and resilient societies (building back better).  

See the program details.


GERMANY

The government will provide financial support to encourage sustainable forest management and the digitisation of forestry. The aid will also be used for “investments in modern operating machines and equipment” and on “promoting a modern timber industry including the greater use of wood as a building material”.

The German Sawmill and Wood Industry Federation (DeSH) sees the coalition committee’s decisions as groundbreaking. “With a stimulus package worth 130 billion, which partly looks like a new coalition agreement between the three ruling parties CDU / CSU and SPD, the Federal Government is not only trying to cushion the effects of the coronavirus crisis, but also with important investments in sustainable and climate-friendly areas in Germany to make them fit for the future,”  says DeSH general manager Lars Schmidt.


AFRICA

« The COVID-19 virus is taking hold across the African continent and the situation is evolving quickly. Many African governments have put in place measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic, but at the same time, disruptions to supply chains and domestic production combined with weak external demand, the sharp fall in commodity prices, as well as disruption in key service sectors such as tourism, are putting people’s jobs and livelihoods at risk. »

Read :

The report of the first "PROTECTED AREA EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS" Conference held on 22-23 April 2020 underlines the crucial importance of biodiversity conservation for livelihoods and human life.

Mr Kaddu Sebunya, AWF Director General, noted that “COVID-19 has highlighted the many structural weaknesses of African economies, putting a strain on health systems and other basic services such as water and food security, while revealing how essential biodiversity and ecosystems are for human health and for reducing the likelihood of future pandemics. “

See the CBFP publication of June 5, 2020.

The change in working conditions and the disruptions caused by the pandemic are generally disrupting the organisation and smooth running of forest sector activities with considerable repercussions on the social, economic and environmental balance: jobs, source of income, raw material resources etc.

The negative effects of COVID-19 and the considerable repercussions on the social, economic and environmental balance jeopardize the production and trade of essential forest products and undermine the livelihoods of the local population.

The multifaceted contribution of the forest sector to broader development goals reflects the central role that forests play in post-crisis social and economic recovery.

Combating deforestation and forest degradation, through legal and sustainable forest management, is a crucial issue in climate change mitigation and biodiversity conservation, ensuring the social, economic and environmental role of forests.

At a time while most of African countries is gradually lifting the lockdown, the state of health emergency is still continuing. Decontainment plans are designed to strike a delicate balance between protecting lives while mitigating economic impacts and continuing to eradicate the spread of the virus.

While this situation calls for increased efforts by the forestry sector to ensure legal and sustainable forest management, it also calls for appropriate measures to enable the forestry sector to guarantee the social, economic and environmental role of forests.

Furthermore, in the dynamics of a more sustainable economy, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), organized a virtual meeting to launch the process of harmonization and consolidation of the Master Plans for Industrialisation and Economic Diversification of Central Africa (PDIDE/Central Africa) on 17 June 2020.

It brought together senior officials from the Ministries of Planning, Economy, Industry, Finance, Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration from the following eleven countries: Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gabon, Republic of Sao Tome and Principe, Rwanda and the Republic of Sao Tome and Principe.

« The idea of the new generation of PDIDE in Central Africa was born from the observation that despite their strong endowments in natural and human resources, the economies of the sub-region have never been industrialized or diversified enough to guarantee job-creating and inclusive growth that would lead to sustainable development. These countries have instead suffered, on several occasions, from exogenous economic shocks linked to fluctuations in the prices of the raw materials which have constituted their major export products since the years of Independence. The waves of other cumulative shocks, including that of COVID-19, are no exception. »


REPUBLIC OF CONGO

The state of health emergency has been extended until 20 June 2020.

The movement of the inhabitants of Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire from one city to another and also to other localities in the country, is still prohibited.

Since the progessive lifting of the containment, for some companies activities have resumed in an excellent manner, with all the employees who remained nearby their workplace. The employees who made the trip to Brazzaville have not yet returned due to the extension of the state of health emergency.

Most of the sawmills are still closed.

The flow of exports is slowing down, with the lockdown the effects of Covid-19 has affected storage and evacuation of the material. However, the risk of interruption in log exports is limited.

The biggest problem at the moment is the logistic issues, particularly the supply of equipments and imports.

The main concerns are whether the recovery in demand for tropical timber will be fast in the post-crisis period, the capacity of production.

With regard to support for businesses, the National Committee for Social Dialogue which met for a special session on 11 June in Brazzaville under the leadership of Prime Minister, Clément Mouamba, raised several recommendations aimed at strengthening measures to combat the Covid-19 pandemic in order to rapidly revive the national economy, including the effective and full implementation of measures to support businesses contained in the amended Finance Act and the circular of 16 April 2020 of the Minister of Finance and Budget. “The government also presented the various measures to support businesses and employment already taken and to be taken at the economic, fiscal, customs and financial levels. “

UN CONGO issued a special news flash on the impact of COVID-19.


CAMEROON

The Minister of Forests and Wildlife (MINFOF), Jules Doret Ndongo, received the grievances of logging companies on 27 May 2020 in Yaoundé, through Giogio Giorgetti, the president of the Groupement de la filière bois du Cameroun (GFBC).

With the recession experienced by China (a major world wood consumer) at the beginning of the year due to Covid-19, “the situation of the forestry sector has worsened,” said the trade union representative of forest operators. Among the grievances, the following difficulties were mentionned: “Internally, in the face of the pandemic, they have made staff redundancies or rotations while reducing working hours for the better-off. In addition, there has been a considerable drop in production or tree felling. This is not without consequences in terms of payment of the annual forest royalty (Rfa) in return for the exploitation of Forest Management Units (Ufa)”.


CHINA

Since last week in the capital Pekin, about 100 new cases of Covid-19 have been reported. The emergence of a new outbreak raises fears of a second wave of the epidemic.

The Chinese President, Xi Jinping, presided over the extraordinary China-Africa summit on solidarity against Covid-19 by videoconference on 17 June 2020.

China intends to strengthen solidarity and cooperation with Africa (Full text of President Xi Jinping’s speech).