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Cameroon introduce wood tracking system
A new wood tracking system to protect and support Cameroon's timber industry has been unveiled. A UK based company Helveta developed the system to help check illegal logging as well as ensure continuous export to the EU.

About 80% of the African country’s sawn timber output ends up in the EU territories.

In order to nib illegal logging in the bud, the EU has introduced the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) initiative hence the need for Cameroon to embark on the Helveta system.

“Trials in several timber supply chains will start shortly and national deployment anticipated in 2011. Helveta’s technology will be used to map the location of individual standing trees in the forest and, following harvest, to track the wood products derived from them through the supply chain, therefore validating the legal provenance of the wood at export,” a statement from Helveta said.

The statement read: “With such strict criteria in place for exports, the Ministère des Fôrets et de la Faune (MINFOF) is planning to significantly reduce the market for illegal Cameroonian timber and will be able to remove any identified illegal material from the supply chain using Helveta’s CI World™ forest management and traceability platform.

“Cameroon is the third and latest country to sign a FLEGT VPA with the EU (which it did on the 6th May 2010), after Ghana and the Republic of Congo. Ghana has also selected Helveta’s CI World™ as the underlying technology for its national wood tracking system. At present, about 80 percent of Cameroon’s sawn timber output is exported to the EU, and the FLEGT VPA will provide Cameroon with a gateway to US$362m of potential timber exports to EU countries.”

Patrick Newton, CEO of Helveta, stated, “Cameroon, in addition to Ghana, has now selected CI World™ to provide the necessary transparency and governance for their timber supply chains. This validates Helveta’s position as the chain of custody and legality assurance platform of choice for countries looking to demonstrate compliance and control across their timber supply chains and secure access to premium markets in the EU and US.”

“As environmental policy and regulation becomes an increasing priority on all national agendas, we expect to see private industry making use of technologies like CI World to source legally assured timber and avoid procuring unlawful material, in response to both legislation and consumer demand,” he added.

Helveta's CI World™ is currently being used to monitor in excess of 2.7m hectares of forest across the Congo and Amazon basins and in South East Asia.
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