Sawn timber exports in the Solomon Islands are poised for greater heights following the signing of a partnership to meet international certification and quality standards.
The Solomon Islands Timber Processors and Exporters Association (SITPEA) has partnered with the Australia and New Zealand-funded Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Plus Program to help its members strengthen quality management, traceability and legal sourcing in order to maintain access to existing high value export markets.
SITPEA functions as the representative body for the value-added timber industry in Solomon Islands, a smaller sub-set of the country’s forest sector. The partnership will help the sustainable functioning of the association’s certification group and work towards achieving Nature Economy and People Connected (NEPCon) internationally recognised LegalSource and Chain of Custody (CoC) certification standards.
SITPEA Certification Manager Julius Houria said these certification standards were important for the association as it demonstrates that their timber had been legally sourced from forest to end-user, in compliance with local laws and regulations.
“Australia and New Zealand are our major timber buyers which is 70 percent of the timber market valued at SBD60 to SBD70 million dollars per year. In order for us to continue to supply to these markets, we need certification standards such as CoC which we anticipate to have by end of this year,” he said.
“The COVID19 pandemic has motivated our members to work towards economic recovery in securing market access and create new opportunities.”
PHAMA Plus Senior National Facilitator Peter Ramohia said the Program would also work with SITPEA and industry stakeholders to expand the number of certified companies and improve the regulation of the sawn timber sector. He said this would also create opportunities for diversification of customers and export of other value-added wood products.
PHAMA, now known as PHAMA Plus, was instrumental in the establishment of SITPEA as an independent industry body to promote, coordinate, represent and seek benefits for the timber processors and exporters throughout the country. The Program’s support towards the Solomon Islands’ sawn timber industry is aligned with its objective to maintain and improve existing market access by developing the capacity of the public and private sectors to meet the requirements of markets.
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