The current president of the National Forest Institute (Infona), Cristina Goralewski, said in an interview with Paraguay TV that she set the goal that in 5 years one million hectares can be reforested and that it is a huge challenge but one that is it will live up to to make it state policy.
"I would like to plant a million hectares in the next 5 years, adjusting the law and we encourage it from the institution so that we can reach this goal, it is a huge challenge," he mentioned.
He also recalled that the president spoke of deforestation in his speech to the public and that it is the first time in many years that a president did not touch on this issue. "That is why we will rise to the occasion to take the forestry issue as a state policy, for this we must give the institution security and transparency," he emphasized.
He explained that it is intended to carry the forestry sector as a government policy and that we have a lot to do and he believes that it is time to promote the forestry sector in our country.
Regarding data on the reality of the sector, he mentioned that today the forest GDP does not even reach 1.5 or 2%. He added that since 1995, when the afforestation and reforestation law came out, "we only have between 120 thousand and 150 thousand hectares recently, now is the time that we must promote that," he said.
Among the strategic plans, the president of Infona mentioned that they are going to do a comprehensive study of our laws. "We are not doing something right, because our 422 law dates from 1973, it is 45 years old, it does not contemplate certain forms of production that are being carried out today," he commented.
Likewise, he said that Law 536, which is to promote reforestation and others, must be agreed with what is the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development, since there are functions that overlap between this institution and Infona.
He added that the forestry business "goes hand in hand with the comprehensive study of our laws in relation to this area and what are the incentives that we can provide and de-bureaucratize these processes so that the private sector has an interest in planting."
Bad image internationally
At another time, Cristina recognized that Paraguay does not have a good image in terms of deforestation at the international level, especially during the validity of Decree 7702, whose impact has not yet been had, among them the plans approved during the validity of that decree, the changes in land use in the Chaco, to see how we can legally stop.
"The national forest inventory is being re-measured, in September it continues, there we will have more specific data on the national forest sector," he said.
Signature of agreement
He mentioned that they were recently with representatives of Global Forest Watch with whom an agreement will be signed, as well as with the people of WWF, who will provide us with a digital platform that will be online. "It will be open to the public, who will give us a weekly deforestation alert, then we will work with the control of digitized images on the issue of deforestation. We are going to have traceability in the inspection processes where there is deforestation ”, he highlighted.
In this sense, he added that until now, only work was done on the basis of complaints and work was done in situ, even allowing a gap to open up for corruption in the institution.
He also said that Global Forest Watch has a framework agreement with the UN framework convention for climate change. "It will allow us to project ourselves with dignity, by having our information that will be on the platform, it means that we want to do things well and seriously," he said.
Reactivation of the Advisory Council
Similarly, the head of Infona, commented that the Advisory Council of Infona will be reactivated, made up of representatives of the forestry sector, which was inactive a year ago and that now it is expected that the decrees of appointment of these representatives nominated by each sector.
“We want to work with the updating of laws through the advisory council and not only the laws, but all the public policies, because all the actors of the forestry sector participate in this council. Although I clarify that on the subject of laws there should be an expanded dialogue with other institutions such as the Vice Ministry of Mines and Energy, the MOPC, the MIC, the Environment, among others, "he said.
"We do not want to become a prosecutor or sanctioner of fines, if people are at fault they have to pay a fine, but as an institution we want to seek the formalization of these producers," he said.
He emphasized that the problem cannot be solved by paying fines and that they have in mind a huge project called ecological restoration that they started in the eastern region and that is focused on the formalization of all the productive farms in the country that are formalized and within of the legal framework, we will work with all the departmental authorities, with the binationals to work together with the formalization as the Neuland cooperative did. We will take success stories as a model ”he added.
Reforestation: interesting business
Goralewski mentioned that reforestation has an internal rate of return of ten to fifteen percent a year and that "it is an interesting business." He also explained that for the Chaco, which is a development pole for the country, a zero deforestation law is not applicable today.
“We must work on decree 70/31, which mentions keeping 25% as a legal reserve and the rest be governed by the change in land use because the Chaco is a development pole, we cannot stop producing food for the world ”indicated at the same time of referring that a sustainable production can be done.
On the other hand, he said that in the western region it is applicable because we no longer reach two million hectares and that we must protect, he commented.
“That is why it is necessary to formalize the people who work in meat and soy. Today Europe no longer works with companies that are not in harmony with the environment, with this formalization we are providing added value to products because they come from sustainable production ”, he argued.
A million little trees
For next June 19, Tree Day, Infona has a project that will be launched soon and consists of the planting of one million trees.
"It is a huge project for June 19, the 1 m marathon, we want a million young people, children and not so young, to plant a million trees and we are going to work on it," he said.
Similarly, he maintained that it will have traceability. “We will have an app so that after planting it will tell us where they will plant, we will tell them what care to take, then they will be able to load the size of the tree, month by month as it grows. We will send you the data, so every month we will visit the places where they are to see how they are growing, we seek to empower youth about caring for trees from school "he highlighted.
Finally, he announced that Infona technicians will go to learn about the successful experiences of Chile and Uruguay, in the reforestation and afforestation of their forests, the care and what not to do.
Source: The Nation