Vietnam Forestry Growth Associated with Market Development

9:27:42 AM | 14/1/2020

In order to have a comprehensive view of the forestry industry and its direction in 2020, the Vietnam Business Forum has an interview with Mr Nguyen Quoc Tri, Director General of Vietnam Administration of Forestry (VNFOREST), Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Minh Ngoc reports.

Could you please tell us the achievements of the forestry sector and prospects for 2020?

Basically, in 2019, the forestry sector successfully completed the assigned targets: The growth rate of 5% in forestry production value in 2019; the forest coverage rate of about 41.85% (an increase of 0.2 % compared to 2018), reaching the plan target in 2019. We have also planted over 239 million hectares of forest, reaching over 112% of the plan, planted 63.5 million scattered trees, reaching nearly 108% of the plan, exploited forest timber production of 19.5 million tons. In particular, in 2019, the export value of wood and forest products reached US$11.2 billion (reaching 107% of the plan which was US$10.5 billion), an increase of 20% compared to 2018. Besides, revenue from forest environmental services nationwide reached VND2,800 billion.

2020 is the final year of the 2016-2020 plan, the forestry sector must strive to achieve higher targets over the past four years. This is also a basic year to develop a plan for the next 5 years, even longer. The industry continues to protect, develop and effectively and sustainably use the existing forest area. At the same time, the industry also improves productivity, quality and promotes the value of each type of forest, increases the value of production forests per unit area, contributing to the reduction of natural disasters, protecting the ecological environment; creating jobs, increasing income for people working in forestry, associated with building a new countryside. In 2020, we aim for a national forest coverage of 42%; growth rate of 5-5.5% in forestry production value; export value of forest products reaching US$12.5 billion, up 10% compared to 2019; concentrated forest exploitation reaching 20.5 million m3.

The sector also enhances forest protection and forest fire prevention and fighting; promptly and effectively prevents and handles violations of the forestry law, ensuring a 10% reduction in the number of violations and a 30% reduction in the damaged forest area compared to 2019.

What are the solutions to Vietnam's forest certification in 2020 and in subsequent years?

The solutions include: Focusing on developing concentrated material areas, specifying the structure of forest tree species, especially large timber trees, to meet the material requirements for the export wood processing industry; attaching importance to the selection of high-yield and high-quality forestry plant varieties. We will also encourage people and businesses to change farming practices from extensive afforestation to intensive afforestation, combine small timber plantations with the development of large timber forests to meet the needs of the processing industry, mobilize the resources of the State and society to develop production and business effectively for about 2.8 million ha of planted production forests. We will closely link afforestation and the implementation of sustainable forest management and granting forest certification to enhance product value per production unit; operate the national forest certification system to improve the prestige and trademark of Vietnam's forest certification and Vietnam's timber industry in the international arena.

Currently the country has only about 250,000 ha of certified forests, within Southeast Asia, we are in a better-off group; but compared to Asia and the world, we are still at a low level. One of the solutions is to promote participation of localities and raise awareness of forest owners to have legal timber sources.

What should Vietnamese wood processing enterprises do to take full advantage of the opportunities that VPA/FLEGT brings?

Implementing the Voluntary Partnership Agreements/Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (VPA/FLEGT) will help enhance competitiveness, promote trade in timber and timber products between Vietnam and the EU, as well as towards a transparent, legal timber market and sustainable forest management. If EVFTA is successfully signed, Vietnamese timber enterprises will no longer be worried or surprised about the provisions related to the origin of wood products because VPA/FLEGT has solved this problem. The agreement will help Vietnam's wood processing industry to develop sustainably in the next 10 years, affirming prestige and brand name in the world, becoming a key economic sector in Vietnam's production and export.

I believe that after Vietnam signs the VPA, the Government and organizations will have appropriate policies and programs to support businesses as well as households so they can adapt with this agreement.

 In the immediate future, it is necessary to continue training enterprises to better understand VPA/FLEGT and although Decree on Vietnam Timber Legality Assurance System (VNTLAS) has not yet been issued, it is necessary to communicate and train in advance so that enterprises can grasp the most basic requirements. At the same time, it is necessary to enhance the cooperation and information exchange between related agencies, associations, social organizations in order to provide effective information and technical support to enterprises.

Thank you very much!

In 2019, the forestry sector implemented many important tasks to enforce the Forestry Law and restructure the industry towards a sustainable development. In particular, Vietnam has officially become the 50th member of the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), paving the way for the implementation of sustainable forest management and forest certification.