14 April 2017
By David O’Sullivan
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed T.D., Coillte Chairman, John Moloney and Coillte Chief Executive, Fergal Leamy were in Macroom, Co Cork this week to launch Coillte Premium Partners, a new private forestry partnership product by the national commercial forestry company. Coillte Premium Partners provides a new option for owners of private forestry to earn an annual, risk free income from their forests without the need to sell their land.
Coillte Premium Partners is aimed at landowners of high quality, commercial forests crops where the Forest Service payments have or are due to expire. Through the partnership Coillte, will manage all aspects of the private forest including the harvesting and sale of the timber while the landowners retain ownership of the land. Forestry owners will receive an annual payment for their crop while Coillte will own the harvesting rights to the crop. In addition, the landowner will receive a lump sum payment when the crop has been clear-felled.
Coillte manage 440,000ha of forests and sell over 2.5 million m3 of timber every year. Private forestry owners who become Coillte Premium Partners will have direct access to Coillte’s forest management expertise, operational capacity, planning systems, certification and sales channels. Forest cover in Ireland is currently at 11%, with over 150,000ha of privately owned forests planted following several state incentives including the payment of planting grant and annual payments for 15 to 20 years. This private timber resource, which is now reaching maturity, is heavily fragmented with approximately 21,000 individual owners and Coillte Premium Partners offers a sustainable approach to mobilising this private forestry resource.
Speaking at the launch Minister Creed said “I am delighted to launch this innovative scheme which supports Irish forest owners and creates new value in the rural economy through the mobilisation of timber from privately owned forests. Coillte has been managing Irish forests since its inception and this is an opportunity for private forestry owners to enter a partnership with an experienced and trusted partner to optimise the value of their crop as Coillte support the development and growth of the export led timber processing sector in a way that is supportive of Ireland’s national afforestation policy.”
Coillte CEO Fergal Leamy said “As Ireland’s leading commercial forestry company, we are looking forward to building strong partnerships with private forestry owners across the country that will allow them to get the best value from their forest plantation. Coillte Premium Partners will bring private timber to market in a way that will support the sustainable growth of the Irish forestry industry, provide our customers with security of supply and ensure the sector continues to provide employment opportunities in rural communities.”