The department of forests and park services (DoFPS) is in the process to develop a standard modality for timber marketing from all Community Forests (CF) in Bhutan.
The Social Forestry Division (SFD) under the forest department over the years has conducted few workshops on Timber marketing guidelines for Community Forests to develop simple and clear guidelines to facilitate timber marketing from the CF.
A most valid reason for the department to frame such guidelines is the need for a uniform mode of timber marketing currently absent in regions across the country. A very telling example is the east and west situation with regard to timber marketing.
In east Bhutan, Zhasela Community Forests (CF) at Lhuentse engaged in timber marketing for quite a few years now to enable income generation for the communities and contribute toward poverty reduction.
They’ve devised their own model of timber marketing in the manner of retail sale where it is the customers who come to buy timber from their CFs.
In the west, Druk Pegong Community Forests in Paro operationalized timber sale from their CFs through an allotment system whereby the customers come together to bid for the lot.
This was done to ensure equal distribution of timber among the Wood-based industries, it was also instituted to address the widening gap between supply and demand of timber in the market.
Two communities follow two different strategies and procedures for timber marketing; this is due to the absence of a standard timber marketing guideline.
To gather diverse insights, knowledge and experience from CFs which can be included in the timber marketing guidelines, many agencies, who are directly or indirectly involved in timber marketing made various presentations during workshops.
Agencies such as Natural Resource Development Corporation Limited (NRDCL), Forest Resource Development Division (FRDD), Policy and Planning Division (PPD) and the SFD offered findings on timber production analysis from CFs and Forest Management Units (FMUs), timber market chain analysis, timber marketing and pricing policy, draft rural timber policy and timber marketing as per Forest and Nature Conservation Rules, 2006.
Seven Community Forests from different parts of the Country are already in the timber business and officials exchanged their experiences during every workshop to enhance timber marketing.
CFs such as Joensham Lamdokha CF at Trashigang, Tongla Phuensum CF at Mongar, Zhasela CF at Lhuentse, Septangzur CF at Bumthang, Yargay CF at Tsirang, Woku Damchi CF at Punakha and Druk Pegong CF at Paro presented their timber marketing strategies and experience.
The officials had delved on many issues and differences in timber marketing currently in practice.