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National demand for sawnwood in Cameroon. A barrier to or an opportunity for promoting the use of timber resources of legal origin?

Domestic timber consumption in Central Africa, which is predominantly fed with sawnwood of informal origin, is important both economically and socially. No one has yet addressed the information needed in order to develop the conditions that will improve the legality of timber trade and practices. This report aims to fill that gap by reviewing the demand and supply of different wood products in the Cameroonian domestic market (Yaoundé and Douala) in order to identify the opportunities that would promote the consumption of sawnwood and furniture of legal origin, which would strengthen the sustainable management of timber resources and encourage long-term, green economic growth. Private and public demands for timber are mainly for three uses: construction material for the building and public works (BPW) sector, for frames and for furniture. These demands are expressed at four marketing levels: 1. The urban markets: Approximately 830,000 m3 of sawnwood are sold per year, mainly in the form of planks, formworks, laths and rafters. This sector's characteristics have undergone little change over the last decade, with identical products, prices and species each year. The average price of 1 m3 charged in the urban markets for all sawnwood categories combined is about XAF 80,000. Products that are declared to be of legal origin (as they come from industrial mills) represent between 12 and 18% of the volume sold. However, between 15 and 34% of customers reported that they would purchase legal timber if their income increased by between 20 and 100% in the next 5 years. In addition, half of the buyers interviewed stated that they would pay 10% more in order to acquire timber from legal origins. This estimate depends on the occupation of the buyer, the product bought and the timber species of the product. Finally, the interviewed buyers stated that they could bear a 45% increase in current sawnwood prices before substituting them with alternative products. So, demand would exist even if the supply price of timber increased in urban markets, which would at least improve the legality and the quality of certain types of sawnwood in the short and medium term. 2. The joinery workshops: A total of 515 interviewed workshops produce about 130,000 items of furniture per year, for a total volume of 22,000 m3 of timber after fourth transformation and a turnover of more than XAF 8 billion. Cabinets, beds and doors are the best-selling products, in terms of value and volume. Urban consumers are interested in getting the best prices for wooden furniture. There is a lack of interest in sourcing sawnwood of legal and sustainable origin; only 19 joinery workshops met a demand for wood of legal origin in 2015 for a total sale of just 61 items of furniture. 3. The furniture shops: From January to October 2015, 166 shops surveyed sold 22,282 items of furniture, corresponding to a sawn volume of 5788 m3 and a turnover of XAF 3.33 billion. Beds were the main piece of furniture sold by these shops. The legality of the material used for the manufacturing of furniture sold in the shops is an extremely rare concern for buyers in Yaoundé and Douala. Since their creation, only 10% of the sampled shops have reported any demand for wood from legal sources. During the survey period, the shops sold only 78 items of furniture to buyers who were concerned about the legality of the raw material. 4. Public contracts: National and international public agencies have almost not developed a strategy towards promoting the legal origin of the timber used in public contracts. Yet between July 2015 and June 2016, 1029 calls to tender including timber works were published in the Journal of Public Contracts of Cameroon, for 2134 sites for construction or renovation of public infrastructure. Classrooms make up the majority of this category of tenders. This public demand for sawnwood is close to 13,000 m3 per year, making the Government of Cameroon the main buyer of sawnwood and furnitur

Mots-clés : politique forestière; gouvernance; communauté rurale; forêt de production; législation de l'environnement; bois; économie forestière; meuble; pratique illégale; prix; marché; consommation intérieure; bois débité; production forestière; forêt tropicale; forêt; cameroun

Thématique : Production forestière; Economie de la production; Commerce intérieur; Economie de la consommation

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