$200,000 in Royalties from Amnestied Rosewood Print E-mail
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Thursday, 23 May 2013 00:00

Wilber Sabido580 tons or 400,000 board feet of rosewood will be exported from the country as a result of the three-week amnesty program. The Chief Forest Officer of Belize, Wilber Sabido, said that the Forestry Department is currently monitoring the loading of rosewood for export. From April 8th to April 26th, individuals were allowed to export rosewood that was harvested during the moratorium period ordered by the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, Hon. Lisel Alamilla.

 On the March 14th, 2013, at the sixteenth session of the Conference of the Parties on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), a decision was taken to regulate the international trade of rosewood and now the harvest and exportation of rosewood from Belize will fall under the CITES regulations. In order to regulate the trade of rosewood, the Ministry needed to account for the entire pre-convention volume of harvested rosewood available in the country and an amnesty was seen as the best way to complete that exercise.

The Government of Belize will receive fifty percent of the proceeds from sale of the rosewood. Sabido says that he is not aware of the market value of the stock but, the exporter will have to produce proper receipts and other records of the sale transaction. Before the rosewood is exported, the Forestry Department must first report it to CITES. The report includes the quantity of rosewood being exported and the importing country. CITES also requires that the Forestry Department inform the relevant agency in the importing country. While Government’s take from the transaction has not been calculated as yet, Sabido says that Government is already set to receive over $200,000 from royalties for the rosewood.

Sabido says that the department continues to be vigilant in order to stop the illegal harvesting of rosewood. He says that one hundred percent of the rosewood measured during the amnesty period was in the Toledo District. He does not expect large scale harvesting to continue because it will be extremely difficult for individuals to export rosewood illegally now that it is protected under the CITES convention. However, there are local companies that may purchase the wood to produce items. Therefore, the department must continue to be vigilant. Sabido says that before the moratorium on rosewood is lifted, the department must first assess the entire volume of rosewood across the country to determine if there is enough for harvesting.