Category Archives: Cooperatives

Queensland farmers growing African mahogany in plantations


This recent ABC Landline story introduced me to yet another group of Australian farmers who are getting on and growing quality high value timber for the marketplace:

African mahogany (Khaya senegalensis) has a 200+ year reputation as a premium quality hardwood, but supplies from West Africa are all but exhausted.

Check out their website:

and on Facebook

These people are at the stage of first harvest and looking to break in to the fickle Australian timber market.

The question now is – will the Australian market support these farmers in their efforts to build a new forest industry?

To date the Australian market (architects, builders, joiners, furniture makers, consumers, etc.) has shown little interest in encouraging and supporting Australian farmers growing trees for wood production.

It’s well past time for that attitude to change.

This is a great story and definitely needs everyones support.

Who said Australian farmers won’t grow timber?


Anyone for growing Tasmanian blackwood?

The forests behind the label – Why standards are not enough

Here’s a great Ted Talk about going beyond Forest Certification with the focus on small scale forest growers like existing and potential Tasmanian blackwood growers.

And when I think about the synergies between their connect-with-the grower model and a Tasmanian Blackwood Growers Cooperative I get excited.

This is just what Tasmanian blackwood growers need to get the support and recognition.

It’s about connecting consumers and manufacturers with forest growers.

What a great idea!

The Ted Talk is by Constance McDermott who is a James Martin Senior Fellow and Chair of the Forest Governance Group at the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford.

This is a 12 minute talk well worth watching.

New group looks to become Fonterra of forestry

Here’s a great story for all those 14,000 New Zealand farm forest growers with plantations coming due for harvesting. If this is successful it will revolutionise the already very successful New Zealand forest industry. Forestry is New Zealand’s third largest export earner after dairy and meat. Last year’s total forestry exports were worth $NZ4.3 billion.

Yesterday a new forestry company, United Forestry Group, targeting owners of small forests in New Zealand was launched. Its cornerstone shareholder is a joint venture between international timber marketer Pentarch, which is headquartered in Melbourne and has been operating in New Zealand for more than 10 years, and a Chinese conglomerate, Xiangyu Group. The company’s offering small forest owners (there are around 14,000 forests under 1000 hectares which account for just over a third of New Zealand’s plantation resource) benefits similar to the pastoral sector’s co-operatives such as Fonterra in marketing and economies of scale.

It is believed production from New Zealand’s small forest growers over the next 20 years could be worth $NZ30 billion.

I wonder if the United Forestry Group will form sub-groups to offer these services to growers of other species besides Pinus radiata, such as blackwood? New Zealand blackwood growers would really benefit from such a service.

Those New Zealanders really do understand what forestry is all about.

I will be following this story closely over the coming years to see how it develops and keep readers informed. It’s good to have a good news story.

New laws a ‘watershed’ for co-operatives

Here’s a story on the ABC News website yesterday from Tasmanian rural reporter Sally Dakis.

New [first ever] national laws launched this week are expected to make co-operatives a more attractive business model. Read the full story here.

I hope the Tasmanian Government introduces the supporting legislation soon. Anything that will facilitate a blackwood growers cooperative is a good thing.

Here’s the website of the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals.