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Sunday, June 21, 2015

New Zealand loses 100,000 hectares to dairy expansion

Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association, New Zealand has allayed fears that dairying boom expansion is eating into forest blocks and threatens wood security, as it claims to have lost 100,000 hectares of forest land in the last few years to dairy farming, reports NaijaAgroNet.
The Board Chairman of the Association, Brian Stanley, in a forum of over 40 industry experts and community representatives at the Trailways Hotel, lamented that forestry and wood products producers were in a far tougher market than the agricultural sector, stating that it's not a wall of wood any more, but a hedge.
Expressing his dismay, Stanley established that although the nations wood industry offers a solution to the dairying's carbon emission problem but its being hurt by the dairying's expansion and stressed optimism that wood processing and manufacturing - the country’s third largest export sector at $2.5 billion a year, stands to risk its position.
Nationally the industry, as gathered by NaijaAgroNet, produces 70 per cent of its energy needs by burning waste wood, saving $1.1 billion annually, and Landscapers has estimated a $12 billion  "environmental value" of  forests made up of components such erosion control, nutrient recycling and soil formation.
Though the industry sees itself as the answer to dairying's need to offset carbon production and a solution to climate change; the association frowns at the level of government support regional producers get compared to other regional primary industries that didn't provide similar numbers of jobs. 
"Nor do they provide the same level of water quality or climate change control that the forest growing and wood processing industries are renowned for." Stanley stated.
Simultaneously, Association Chief Executive, Jon Tanner, also pointed out that the competition internationally, against governments owning 85 per cent of the world's forests and associated processing and setting their own rules, puts the organization on a tough unbalanced scale in the agricultural market.
Tanner submitted that the industry has a highly productive and efficient workforce, and a great opportunity as a solution to climate change, but faced major supply problems caused by logs being exported to China, and dairy conversions swallowing forest land. 
"We are an incredible industry building economic, social and environmental capital simultaneously. Trees are the pollution solution." He said.
The association NaijaAgroNet learnt was formed through a merger of the Pine Manufacturers' and Wood Processors' Associations and is holding a series of gatherings around New Zealand to tell what it says is a fantastic story of innovative and sustainable production providing thousands of jobs in the regions.
Daniel Nsolibe/GEE
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