FIJI mahogany resource was grossly mismanaged for many years and what existed could barely be described as an industry at all, one that was fragmented and lacked cohesion.
Speaking at the inaugural meeting of the Mahogany Industry Council at the GCC complex in Suva yesterday, Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said the process of felling trees was done with no real objective for value adding and the harvesting did not produce long-term sustained benefits for the people.
He said majority of the mahogany, including sawn timber, were exported in a very rudimentary form and there was no organised program for reforestation of mahogany trees.
"The whole business conducted through Fiji Hardwood Corporation Limited and those who participated in it was prone to corruption, in the forest, in the sawmill and in the offices," Commodore Bainimarama said.
He said FHCL, the holder of the mahogany leases, was haemorrhaging financially and both the nation and ordinary Fijians were being deprived of a suitable return and the non-realisation of the full potential of this most precious resource. "There was inefficiency, lack of knowledge and antiquated and outmoded systems," he said.
"The whole business conducted through FHCL and those who participated in it was prone to corruption."