LevasFlor- Social Impact Forestry!? What is that?
Mozambique has been of the fastest growing economies in the world and has abundant natural resources such as forests, natural gas, coal and precious stones. Foreign investment in resource exploitation has seen significant and rapid inflow while laws and regulatory oversight of resources sometimes struggle to catch up.
“During the years we have seen the forests in the country being overexploited and damaged through illegal logging. While laws and regulations of forestry are in place, the actual implementation of the laws is a major challenge for authorities. We are still the only natural timber operator in Mozambique holding a FSC certificate (for both Forest Management and Chain of Custody). With our geographical position in the wildlife corridor, between Gorongosa National Park and the Zambezi river delta, we have the attention of many actors. We collaborate with the national park to combat poaching, illegal logging and to raise awareness of the value of a healthy forest. During the last ten years, more than two million hectares of forest cover has been lost. The relevance of a certified sustainable Forestry Company in this context cannot be overemphasized.” says Claudia Veloso Esteves, one of the directors of LevasFlor.
In this context LevasFlor serve as a flagship and model that it is possible to be profitable with sustainable, compliant practices in Mozambique. The company has a 15-year history operating in the Sofala province and is equipped with a sawmill, a carpentry shop and drying kilns.
“With our forest concession of 46 300 hectares and 170 locally (plus 30 seasonal) employed workers social development matters to us.” – reaffirms Claudia, one of the directors of LevasFlor.
Many people around the forest area have a very low school education. To address this problem, LevasFlor together with the provincial government are offering nightschooling to enable adults to catch up on their education. A TV Room and a library with a reading area were set up to give people the opportunity to get information from the outside world in that remote place. Additionally a small health center run by LevasFlor offers free help for all inhabitants in that area.