Wood for Slovenia Is a Special Gift and an Opportunity
We must realize that it is of essential importance to treat rationally the only natural resource that we have in abundance, since it will help us to build optimally our future.
Ljubljana. Wood is much more than just a tree biomass, the same as wooden products. It is much more than just a product. It is a resource that we have in abundance here in Slovenia being our strategic advantage. This idea was announced at the opening of the “Čar Lesa” Exhibition in the Cankar House by its organizer Franc Pohleven and the representative of the Faculty of Biotechnology from the University of Ljubljana and the Minister of Economy Zdravko Počivalšek.
“Wood means clean rivers, healthy soil, clean air and the earth, climate normalization, full-time jobs, and healthy environment,” Franc Pohleven listed and recalled that after acquiring independence, people in Slovenia have somewhat forgotten about these things. Therefore, more than a decade ago, the idea of holding such exhibitions appeared. It should have reawakened in people a love for this natural resource.
The exhibition and the accompanying professional events were held successfully. This year, the exhibition is organized in the Cankar House for the eighth time in a row. According to Franc Pohleven, today people are much more aware of the real value of wood. They buy more products that are made of wood as well as prefer wooden houses when purchasing real estate property.
“Those who do not use wood or do not burn it will be awarded. Products and objects made of other materials are cheaper than their wooden analogues despite the fact that their manufacturing and usage increase the level of environmental pollution. Therefore, as noted by Franc Pohleven, it would be necessary to establish the real prices for the products taking into account the factor of harmfulness with respect to the environment when manufacturing and further utilizing such products. In the process of woodworking, the wood contributes to a positive environmental impact.”
The shift towards eco-economy
“By the time we will have achieved this level, wooden products would be much cheaper than products made of other materials. The consumption of wooden products will grow, which is a precondition of the wood processing industry occurrence in Slovenia,” Franc Pohleven convinced. Hence, his appeal to the public, economists and politicians is to “as quickly as possible reform the strategy for the development of the Slovenia’s economy, reorienting on the eco-economy, adapting it for our advantage, that is, to the wood, which is the only material that provides for “green energy” and sustainable development of the country’s potential.”
“The forested areas, which cover more than 60% of the country’s territory, do have an essential value for the people of our state,” the Minister Zdravko Počivalšek stressed. ” We know that in the last twenty years, the wood and the Slovenian wood processing industry have been deprived of attention. This happened for several reasons – not only because of the crucial system solutions, but also thanks to the people who directed the Slovenian wood processing industry. However, in recent years we have seen once again that the wood is really a resource of strategic advantage and the raw material, based on which we must build our future. We now understand that the rational use of wood is a must. We should export the products with high added value, and not just logs.”
In the Ministry, the Department for the Wood Processing Affairs (direktorat za les) was established in order to “provide assistance in establishing new enterprises in the field of wood processing industry; in providing technological advancement of the existing enterprises; and in integrating institutions within the field of woodworking sector; as well as in ensuring the unified representation of this sector in the foreign markets.” It is worth noting that the Minister and the Department support the restart of the woodworking industry. To begin with, they are busy with the non-returnable assets that will help the enterprises to re-resume this activity. In the future, they will also provide the returnable financial sources for the re-establishment of a woodworking cycle.
The Minister expects the opening of five tenders for the non-returnable assets already in this month. “Nearly six million euros will target small and medium-sized enterprises actively engaged in the field of wood processing, over a million euros will be earmarked for the development of competent human resources as well as for individual and collective representations in exhibitions on wood processing. Half a million euros will be designed to stimulate the development and commercialization of products that affect the greater energy efficiency in our country.”
Zdravko Počivalšek also noted that the Slovenes traditionally have ample craft skills and experience in the woodworking cycle. In addition, we have very talented and creative architects, professional statics and designers, and our wood processing companies are able to be competitive in competing with the powerful foreign counterparts. We also have excellent industrial designers and young entrepreneurs who are entering the market with a variety of fashionable applications, bicycles, and cameras for enthusiasts; the original wooden wristwatches do also exist.
“This is the issue, by which we would like to give extra value to the wood, which is both the old and the modern. Wood is eternal,” Zdravko Počivalšek said.