The Cooperative society for the exploitation and processing of wood in Cameroon (EXTRABOICAM), has renewed it’s commitment to promote the availability of legal wood resources for Small and Medium Sized enterprises (SMEs) and others actors of the secondary wood transformation industry in Cameroon.
That was during the first extra ordinary general assembly of the cooperative that held on Wednesday March 31, 2021 in Yaounde.
During the assembly, members of the cooperative (mainly exploiters and wood processing operators) examined the issue of demand and supply of raw materials for local secondary processing.
The board chair of the organization, Mr. Zangue Etienne, confirmed that there is a big problem with the availability of legal wood as raw material for transformation in the country.
“75% of wood used by secondary wood processing industries in the country are illegal wood. Cameroon actually has legal instruments governing the exploitation of community and industrial forests, but they are not respected fully and moreso, there are no incentives for forest exploiters to promote local consumption of wood”. Zangue Etienne told News Upfront.
He said the creation of EXTRABOICAM is a good step to address the issue.
“The present extra ordinary general assembly has given us renewed mandate to lobby for proper supply of raw materials to wood processing enterprises and artisan processing units and we are determined to do so within the next three years of our mandate”. Zangue Etienne added.
The problem of scarcity of legal raw materials for local wood processing industries is much felt amongst artisan processing units and SME’s.
One of the members of the cooperative society for the exploitation and processing of wood in Cameroon, Yves Azengue, an artisan exploiter decried the situation on the field.
“It is very difficult for us to have access to legal wood for processing because most if not all our suppliers are illegal exploiters who deal mostly with wild wood having no traceability, you can’t tell from which forest the wood is coming from, you can’t identify the primary exploitation company, in short it is a black market after all” he said.
According to the artisan exploiter, coming together as a Common Initiative Group will actually help remedy the situation in the sector.
“The few legal wood exploiters in the country are mostly into exportation of raw materials because the woods sell high and fast out of the country than home. To manage the situation, we encourage SMEs to mobilize and buy as a group” he added.
The present scarcity of legal wood for local secondary processing can be manage by both the government and other actors.
One of the solutions earmarked by EXTRABOICAM lies within the powers of the government.
“If all public contracts that have to do with wood go along with a claws that all the wood should come from legal sources, it would go a long way to pave the way for the availability of legal raw materials,” says the board chair of EXTRABOICAM, Zangue Etienne.
The CIG is of the opinion that special sales points for legal wood should be created in the country, and that the government should make it an obligation for forest exploiters to set up local sales points for wood.
The different legal instruments in the country governing the sector should be duly implemented and defaulters held responsible according to the cooperative.
EXTRABOICAM it should be noted was Created on the 11th of December 2018, by the Cameroon federation of associations and professionals in the secondary wood transformation industry (FECAPROBOIS) as an instrument for the fight against illegal forest exploitation.