Mahogany exports from the small Quintana Roo ejido (cooperative) of Caobas amount to 3 million pesos (US $161,000) so far this year, marking the successful two-year anniversary of their export venture.
The name of the ejido is literally “mahoganies” in Spanish, and producing hardwoods has been its main economic activity since its foundation in 1940.
Earlier this month the ejido shipped its fourth export-grade batch of mahogany, the third such shipment to the United States.
The community’s first foray into the international market dates back to 2015 when 7,000 board feet (a unit of volume equal to 144 cubic inches, or a board measuring one by 12 by 12 inches) were exported to Spain. This year, shipments to the United States have amounted to 36,000 board feet.
The mahogany of Caobas has enjoyed FSC forest management certification since 2015, meaning that it meets standards that guarantee a well-managed forest and a commercial activity with environmental, social and financial benefits.
“The certification costs about 60,000 pesos (about $3,200) every year, which we pay for with our own resources and funding from the National Forestry Commission (Conafor) and the consultancy office Maya Rainforest Alliance of Quintana Roo [Alianza Selva Maya de Quintana Roo],” said the president of the ejido commission.
Senen Carmona Santiago said that the achievement of exporting 36,000 board feet this year could be summarized in a single word: “responsibility,” because the people of Caobas have managed to conduct their business while guaranteeing natural resources for future generations through environmental preservation and a sustainable harvest.
The FSC certification “is indeed good business . . . because we can export our hardwood anywhere in the world and obtain greater revenue for the ejido and more jobs. We’re also selling our product in dollars and euros,” remarked Carmona.
The plan for 2018 is to expand exports to other countries.
Caobas also produces lumber from the sabicu, black cabbagebark, white sapote, copperwood and the amapola flower trees.
The commercial operations of the Caobas ejido have amounted to 5.5 million pesos (almost $300,000) so far this year.
Source: El Universal (sp)