July 25, 2021

Chile expects a large agreement to lift the forest sector affected by the fires

Chile expects a large agreement to lift the forest sector affected by the fires

The Government of Chile hopes to join together with the private sector a "great agreement" to lift the forest sector devastated by the largest fires in history, which in 2017 destroyed some 600,000 hectares, left 11 dead and thousands of houses burned.

"We will work on a formula that will allow us to resurrect so many farmers who lost everything and I am sure that the best formula is to see how we help each other and articulate a great agreement to put the Maule forest industry on its feet (in the southern Chile), "Agriculture Minister Antonio Walker told reporters today.

Walker, who spent two days in the affected areas, anticipated that the government of President Sebastián Piñera and his Ministry will support the small and medium-sized timber producers affected by the gigantic forest fires last year.

"The forestry sector is a sector within agriculture of the most powerful we have to develop the region and end rural poverty," said Walker.

The authority also said that, as the numbers show, the forestry sector is "increasingly important for Chile, there is no sector of agriculture that exports 6,000 million dollars and sells almost 4,000 million dollars in Chile and that generate more than 350,000 jobs. "

The minister stressed that the forest sector develops in very poor regions: in the Maule region, in the Biobío region and in the Araucanía region, where unemployment, according to official figures, reaches double digits in some areas.

The fires of last year left 11 dead in Chile, 6,370 victims, 1,603 houses destroyed and some 600,000 hectares razed.

The president of the Chilean Wood Corporation (Corma), Juan José Ugarte, praised the government's concern for the forestry issue.

"We value the minister's visit and the government's actions to recover burnt land and encourage reforestation," Ugarte added.

He affirmed that it is important to promote among the SMEs of the area a "modern associativity" that allows them to generate products with greater added value.

"However, our great concern now is what is going to happen next year and for that, different alternatives are being evaluated together with the Government, large companies and SMEs," he said.

According to data provided by the National Forestry Corporation (Conaf), Chile has 1,900,000 hectares that are devoid of forest, vegetation and that are in different degrees of erosion.

All of them, the entity said, urgently require protection, both due to climate change, the emission of temperature emitted by these soils, but also to continue to prevent erosion and above all to reduce the poverty of the families that own them.


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