TIMBER processing and sustainable management of forest resources of a Pacific island state is expected to improve following the end of an assistance program facilitated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.
This, as the Secretariat of the Pacific Community facilitated in the travel of a two-member team from the Wallis and Futuna island state forestry sector earlier this month.
David Devynck, a forest engineer with the Wallis and Futuna State Department and Taifisi Folituu, a sawmill owner from Wallis, visited Fiji to study the development of their forestry sector, in particular the timber industry.
During their five-day trip to Fiji, the duo visited staff members of SPCs Land Resources Division (LRD), Fijis Forestry Department and various forestry enterprises around Viti Levu, including saw millers, timber exporters and timber value adding companies.
According to a statement from SPC, the representatives learnt more about timber treatment and visual identification of timber species in a bid to ensure that they imported only species that could withstand the conditions in Wallis and Futuna.
Wallis and Futuna has problems with invasive species such as Falcataria moluccana and they requested LRD for assistance in this area, especially in the mapping of the affected areas.
Other areas of support required include the provision of seeds of selected timber tree species, an inventory of their pine plantations, and assistance in improving timber utilisation, especially in the areas of timber processing and treatment, the statement said.
Acting director of Land Resources Division Inoke Ratukalou said it was an opportunity to enhance closer collaboration between SPC and Wallis and Futuna.
Such collaboration is not only beneficial to Wallis and Futuna; it also allows us to learn from their experiences and serve other member countries better, he said.