FAO calls for more private investment in Latin America’s forestry sector

Higher levels of private investment into the forestry sector in Latin America have been called for by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The body urged private investors to consider injecting capital into the sector, in a bid to boost sustainable forestry activities in Latin America, which in turn would allow the true potential of the lucrative industry to be recognised.

FAO Latin America chief forestry officer, Jorge Meza, who is based at the FAO’s regional office in Chile’s capital city Santiago, said in a press release: “The forests have great potential for social and economic development”, adding that the forests were very attractive for investors who were able to “diversify the financial base for sustainable forest management”.

The FAO also said that the forests “played a key role in favour of food security, mitigating the effects of climate change and the vulnerability of rural communities when it comes to facing natural disasters”.

These many benefits must be made the most of “in order to build an economic and institutional fabric that will favour financial innovation,” a recent FAO press release said. “The lack of a constant flow of investment resources makes it difficult for projects to be profitable and also to conserve and adequately manage the forests.”

Indeed, forest experts from the FAO have long recommended that a business environment favourable to sustainable development across all of Latin America’s forested land is created and maintained.

Any investments that are made must be made with the understanding that all value chains are touched upon, including cultural, social and environmental angles, as well as the more obvious profitability angle. Indeed, a recent FAO report entitled ‘The State of the World’s Forests in 2016,’ said that the sustainable management of forests and agricultural land across the globe, including their integration into land-use plans, are absolutely crucial when it comes to attempting to achieve sustainable development, food security and helping to stamp out damaging climate change.

The government has a major part to pay in creating this form of successful investment into the sector, says the FAO, calling upon it to work alongside sponsors and beneficiaries in order to lower any potential risks in the forestry business and help potential sponsors to overcome any obstacles to making their investment.

GWD Forestry spokesman, James Barrett, said: “Latin America’s forestry sector clearly has so much more to give and it needs the correct investment and management to ensure that it is being boosted. If managed correctly, the sector could be a real boon for Latin America’s economy, as well as being a positive from an environmental point of view and helping to boost sustainable food production.”

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