Sunday, December 14, 2008

Export of Non Wood Products from Papuan Forest Should be Encouraged

by Charles Roring

Theoretically, Papua has 31.5 million hectares of forest area. This figure is getting lower day by day due to irresponsible deforestation and conversion to palm oil and rice field.

masoi-bark.jpgIn my previous article, I mentioned about the need to certify Papuan forests for carbon capture so that the carbon offsets from this island can be sold to global carbon market.

It needs experience company such as Global Carbon to help the indigenous people to achieve this goal.Other scheme which is possible to be implemented in Papua is the harvesting of non wood products such as masoi and kulilawang barks, red fruit, sarang semut and rattan, and gaharu. These commodities can provide sustainable economic improvements for most of the villagers living near the forest.To optimise the harvest of the products, we must help them in improving their products quality, harvesting practices that are not harmful to the environment. In addition, the non wood products which these indigenous people harvest from their forest should sell in good price. It means the distribution chains from the producers to consumers should be as short as possible.Papuan villagers can be organized to form community cooperatives so that all their non - wood products can easily be collected for export.Most of the complaints which I found among the villagers are related to the selling price which commodity traders gave to them for the masoi, kulilawang, and gaharu wood that they sell. They said that the price is low.On the other hand, commodity traders who came to Papua complain that the quality of the products the villagers sell are not high enough. They need to re-process them. For instance a very good quality Masoi oil is worthy of 200 US dollar/ kilogram. Such price is better than the recent leasing price of a hectare of tropical rainforest for palm oil plantation.