Timber sector in the DRC: A Study on the survey of stakeholders - Atibt

As part of the implementation of the FLEGT-REDD CERTIFICATION projects implemented by ATIBT and financed by the European Union, FFEM and KfW, the Federation of Wood Processors (FIB) conducted a study on the situation of the forest and timber sector’s stakeholders in the DRC.

FIB was supported in this study by the Ecole Régionale Post-universitaire d'Aménagement et de gestion Intégrés des Forêts et territoires Tropicaux (ERAIFT). The study which started in August 2019 and lasted 4 months was completed at the end of December 2019.

The main objective is to improve stakeholders' knowledge of the private sector of the forest-timber sector in the DRC. Specifically, the aim was to assess private actors (industrial and artisanal) based on the type of activity, areas of intervention, size, their involvement in the VPA FLEGT process and certification.

With this inventory, this study attempts to present the legislative and regulatory framework in order to better understand the principles of management and exploitation of softwood lumber in the DRC, the geographical distribution of industrial logging titles, the typology of industrial actors in the timber sector based on the number of forest titles and their surface areas, the origin of capital, progress achieved in the management process, the evolution of timber production and export as well as the processing capacity for the forestry industry in the DRC.

The study reveals that (i) all forest titles cover a surface area of 10,715,678 hectares out of the country's 155 million hectares, i.e. 7%, and that (ii) the forest titles are concentrated in the country's five provinces (Tshopo, Maï-Nombe, Ecuador, Mongala and Tshuapa), i.e. 71%.

The typology of the industrialists of the sector was based on the following: number of titles, surface area, the state of progress in the management process coupled with the effectiveness of timber production and processing. This typology determines the level of each company, as developed in the attached study.

The study also categorizes artisanal logging and presents the different actors involved in the timber supply chain by sketching the local wood market in the East and West of the country. The study assesses the level of unionization of actors in the industrial and artisanal timber sector.

Certification was a major focus of this study. Compared to the other countries of the Congo Basin, the DRC is lagging behind in the certification process, both in terms of legality and sustainable forest management. To date, only the Compagnie Forestière de Transformation (CFT) holds the Source Legal certification issued by NEPCOM. Having taken a look at the VPA FLEGT, the study highlighted the strengths, weaknesses, constraints and opportunities for the development of this VPA and forest certification in DR Congo.

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