First published in the Tropical Timber Market Report

Overall timber prices in Central and West Africa are stable, but according to sources there is growing downward pressure on prices from European importers.

Cameroonian highland forests. Photo by Wikipedia

According to the Tropical Timber Market Report, producers in Cameroon have welcomed the increased business with importers for the Chinese market after a long quiet period.

There are rumours in Gabon that one of the biggest azobe importers in the EU has been found to have inadequate documents to satisfy the due diligence requirements of the EUTR. This has not yet been reported in either the trade press of the mass media in the EU so cannot be verified.

Meanwhile, weather conditions in Cameroon and surrounding areas have deteriorated. Insurance companies in the region have commented that there has been a rise in claims over the past two years as a result of flooding and other rain-related damage. Bad weather is now affecting harvesting and trucking, and in Cameroon the only road to the north-west region has been washed out, stranding hundreds of trucks. This road is the link between West and Central Africa because from Bamenda there is access to Chad, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and the Central Africa Republic.

At a recent Forum, Gabon’s Minister of Forests said all people in Gabon need to appreciate that the country’s forest resources are valuable and worth managing sustainably as this will generate jobs in the timber industry within the country. At the same Forum, Lauri Hetemäki, assistant director of the European Forestry Institute, pointed out that African countries produced more wood and have four times the forest area of the EU, but forest product exports from the EU are almost 20 times greater than from Africa (USD100-billion compared with USD6-billion – 2019).