Viet Nam has set a target to increase forest coverage to 42 per cent in 2015 - an increase of 5 per cent over that of 2014.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan announced the new goal at a meeting in the capital city on Wednesday, which was co-organised with the Forest Sector Supporting Partnership (FSSP).
For the year 2015, the forest sector also set a target of bringing in US$6.7 billion from forest products - an increase of $500 million compared with that of 2014.
“This year, the forest sector will continue to update its management of special use and protection forests; will stop logging natural forests; and all while stepping activities to protect and develop forests to improve the livelihoods of poor people and ethnic minorities,” Tuan said.
In order to have sustainable forest development, several activities must be achieved, said Tuan, including the issue of raw materials, improvement of lumber quality and reduction of dependence on lumber imports.
In particular he vocalised a three-pronged plan.
Firstly, to develop forest planting models with sustainable and high economic value that plant crops suitable to local weather and soil conditions.
Secondly, to develop new farming areas of large trees and specialty plants used for medicinal and other purposes.
And finally, to increase the number of farmed forests with certification.
In 2014 only two units in Kon Tum and Quang Binh Provinces were granted certification. The Deputy Minister expressed hope that 30 per cent of Vietnamese forests will be certified by 2020.
Tuan asked Vietnamese enterprises to do their best to infiltrate new markets and gain footholds in large markets like the US, European Union, Japan and others.
Increasing climate change awareness as well as Viet Nam’s deeper and wider international integration will bring the country’s forest sector a number of both new opportunities and challenges.
Participation in and full implementation of various trade agreements that Viet Nam is a signatory to them will help raise Viet Nam’s position regionally and internationally.
However, many disadvantages and risks will continue for foresters and small-to-medium wood processing enterprises.
According to weather forecasts for the coming years, the climate in Viet Nam will be increasingly problematic for forest farming and forest protection activities as it is predicted that particularly severe droughts may plague the region.
Addressing the conference, Kirsten Hegener, co-chair of the FSSP, said that the FSSP would continue to support Viet Nam’s efforts to protect and develop forestry in the context of climate change adaptation and impact reduction.
She reiterated the FSSP’s willingness to help Viet Nam successfully implement its Green Growth Strategy and to amend the Law on Forest Protection and Development.
In the last 15 years, the FSSP has helped Viet Nam’s forest sector gain notable successes, particularly the compilation of more than 45 legal documents devoted to improving forestry regulation.
According to Nguyen Ba Ngai, deputy director of the Viet Nam Administration Forestry and FSSP director, since the FSSP’s establishment in 2000, it has attracted many international partners and support.
“Funding for programme implementation is US$31 million and the disbursement is scheduled to end in 2015”, Ngai said.
This year will be a crucial benchmark in the nation’s forestry progress as old programmes and partners come to a close and new ones arrive.
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