Technical analysis refutes NGO complaint against Bricapar

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A technical analysis carried out by the Paraguayan Federation of Loggers (Fepama, by its acronyms in Spanish) on the complaint of the British NGO Earthsight about an alleged deforestation of the Paraguayan Chaco as a consequence of the production of charcoal by the company Bricapar S.A., shows that the aforementioned firm works legally, complying with all national laws, thereby overturning the arguments put forward by that organization.

In addition, it maintains that it has all forest permits and environmental licenses required by the environmental and forestry laws in force in Paraguay that allow it to take advantage of the trees and shrubs from land use carried out by a company called Inversiones Rurales Antequera SA, a lessee of those lands.

This opinion was elaborated by the technical advisor of the Fepama, Eng. Alfredo Molinas, at the request of the Directing Council, after knowing the complaint of Earthsight that had repercussions in different international and local means of communication.

Then, we transcribe the conclusions of the technical report, after the analysis carried out by the Agro-environmental Advisory of FEPAMA:

1- The Company BRICAPAR S.A has each and every one of the forestry permits and environmental licenses in force in Paraguay to take advantage of the trees and shrubs resulting from the change of land use allowed on the property that is legally leased by the Company named Inversiones Rurales Antequera SA to the Institute of Social Welfare (IPS, by its acronyms in Spanish).

2- The Company Inversiones Rurales Antequera SA, according to the institutions responsible for administering environmental laws such as the Secretary of Environment (SEAM, by its acronyms in Spanish) and forestry such as the National Forestry Institute (INFONA, by its acronyms in Spanish), also has all the forestry permits and environmental licenses in force for the development of its agricultural project in the Paraguayan Chaco.

3- The Company BRICAPAR S.A. has a contract with the Company Inversiones Rurales Antequera S.A. to take advantage of the trees coming from the farm in its productive unit.

4- The Company BRICAPAR S.A. also has all the permits of INFONA and SEAM to take advantage of the land use change made by the Company Inversiones Rurales Antequera S.A., for the production of its products (charcoal and briquettes), which are exported to the international market.

5- The ownership of the IPS leased by the Company Inversiones Rurales Antequera S.A. has about 18,007.5 hectares for the development of an Agricultural Project; of which it has forest permit and the environmental license in force and approved for the change of land use of about 5,386.6 hectares.

6- These 5,386.6 hectares represent 29.91% of the total IPS property that is leased by the Company Inversiones Rurales Antequera S.A, where the land use change is being carried out on a scheduled and controlled basis (five years).

7.- The Paraguayan Chaco has approximately 24,300,000 hectares that constitute 60% of the Paraguayan territory. The property of IPS leased and legally qualified to develop its agricultural project has a total of 18,007.7 hectares, representing only 0.074% of the entire Chaco territory. This does not consider that in the Western Region or Chaco, according to published official data, there is still at least 15,613,140.84 hectares of continuous Native Forest Cover, which represents 65% of the total territory of Chaco, where these 5,386.6 hectares, only mean 0.034% of the total territory with continuous native forest cover in the Paraguayan Chaco.

8- Other official data indicate that in the year 2,016, in the Western Region or Chaco of Paraguay, the change of land use affects about 290,000 hectares approximately, so that of these 15.613.140 hectares authorized, cover only 1.86% of the total area of Chaco territory with continuous forest cover, remaining 95% in the hands of other properties that have permits issued by the INFONA and with its corresponding environmental license issued by the SEAM.

9.- Of the 290,000 hectares enabled for the change of land use in the year 2016 in the Chaco, it is not necessary to point out that the permits for the exploitation of these 5,386.6 hectares by the Company Inversiones Rurales Antequera S.A .; constitutes only 1.86% of the total continuous forest cover and that in this sense, the Company BRICAPAR S.A.E. is not responsible for the change of land use of these lands as the complaint denounces the British NGO, limiting only to the use of forest products and by-products generated from the activity developed on those lands.

10- In relation to the point where the British NGO – Earthsight denounces that supposedly the logging of forests and trees by the Company BRICAPAR S.A.E. comes from lands near traditional territories of indigenous Ayoreo people, there is an opinion of the Paraguayan Indigenous Institute (INDI, by its acronyms in Spanish) of June 29, 2017 that establishes that the IPS Property rented by the Company Antequera Inversiones Rurales SA, where empowered legally to develop an agricultural project in the site denominated as Tte. Ochoa of Mcal. Estigarribia District, Department of Boquerón, reason why it is ruled out that the activity affects to these communities.

Conclusions of the Technical Analysis on the Complaint against the Company BRICAPAR S.A. by the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Earthsight:

10.1 The complaint by the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Earthsight against the Company BRICAPAR S.A. demonstrates an ignorance of the forestry and environmental laws in force in Paraguay.

10.2.- In this complaint, Earthsight not only ignores environmental and forestry laws, it does not recognize that there are legally and legitimately constituted institutions such as INFONA (National Forestry Institute), SEAM (Secretary of Environment) and INDI (Institute of the Indigenous) that in a state of right like Paraguay are the responsible of the fulfillment of the National Constitution and the laws in the country.

10.3.- It is clarified that the Company that rented the IPS property and is developing the agricultural project is responsible for the change of land use in its production unit (Company Inversiones Rurales Antequera S.A.) and not the Company BRICAPAR S.A.

10.4.- The Company BRICAPAR S.A. in response to the complaint from the NGO Earthsight., sent all certified copies of the Institutions such as INFONA, SEAM, INDI and IPS which show that the Company Inversiones Rurales Antequera S.A. develops its activities legally and legitimately in the national territory since it has, as already explained above, all the permits in force.

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