18 Oct 2005

Calls in Fiji for mahogany to be certified

2:43 pm on 18 October 2005

Fiji's tropical timbers are being exported to South America, where they're being sold on, without buyers being aware of their origin.

Pine and mahogany exporters say the government should require timber to be certified with its country of origin through the international Forest Stewardship Council system.

The government's certification committee has been discussing the issue for years.

The general manager of Mahogany Industries Fiji, Michael Geitz, says Fiji mahogany is hard to sell, but certification would close a loophole.

Mr Geitz says issues surrounding the coup front man George Speight's chairmanship of the Fiji Hardwood Corporation are being resolved through dialogue and in the courts.

"There are still issues, and people are a little further down the track now, and people talk to each other and that's a good start. There were some issues and cases already in court, and some rulings on that, which helps."

Michael Geitz