Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for forestry, Andrew Doyle, today congratulated the North East Forestry Group and the Forest Owners Co-operative Society, at a function in the Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire, on achieving Group certification.
Abraham Kingston is a dairy and former drystock farmer from Drimoleague, West Cork. His 28 hectares support 45 dairy cows, as well as replacement heifers..
Abraham was one of the pioneers of farm forestry in the late 1980s when he decided to plant an out-farm near Ballydehob. He said: "The land in question was miles away from the home farm, was heavy in nature and ideal for forestry."
He is also one of the co-operative members engaged in a pilot group certification initiative. This certification makes the timber much more attractive to sell on international markets.
There was a large attendance of private forest owners at the public information evening on 'Getting your Forest Certified' recently hosted by the Forest Owners Co-operative Society (FOCS) in Macroom.
Members of FOCS expect that their forests will be certified within two years.
They are engaged in a pilot project, with the support of the Forest Service and in association with North Eastern Forestry Group (NEFG), that will result in member forests being certified to the highest industry standard.
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Andrew Doyle, T.D., with responsibility for forestry, has welcomed the development of a template for private forest owners to establish certification groups.
Noting that timber processors may only take in a maximum of 30% of uncertified timber if they wish to retain their certification status and continue to have access to the UK and European markets, the Minister of State commented, "I am aware that there is growing concern amongst processors and forest owners alike that the lack of certification for private forest owners would hinder access to timber markets. The signing of the contract which encompasses the establishment of two certification groups, one in the north and one in the south, is an important milestone for Ireland’s growing forest industry as it represents a gateway to certification for private forest owners thereby removing a potential barrier to the timber market".
Certification provides the mechanism by which high standards can be maintained and new opportunities created in the forestry sector. That was the key message from Minister of State Andrew Doyle at the recent conference on forest management (FM) certification held in the Botanic Gardens, Dublin