LOGGING which many rural people have taken advantaged of for easy income is causing breeding social problems said Live and Learn Country Manager, Jacob Zikuli.
He said logging caused varieties of related social problems affecting rural dwellers especially women and girls.
“It is causing sexual exploitation and abuse, including other related factors that have eradicated cultural norms and practices in our societies.
“Therefore the presence of logging has caused alarming signal that may explode and cause a lot of impact in our societies,” he added.
A section on the Forestry sector featured in the Solomon Islands Diagnostic Trade Integration Study Report 2009 said that girls and women “tend to suffer social problems and receive the smallest benefits.”
It states that women are neglected in decision making, women have matrilineal rights but property rights are not respected, they have little say and do not benefit from logging royalties at most.
The increasing social and health problems like alcoholism among girls, girls going to logging camps and sexual exploitation, ‘false marriages’, ‘pregnancies’, ‘02’(meaning second wife or girlfriend) and STI problems, has also been highlighted according to the report.
Mr Zikuli said these social concerns from logging presence are far reaching and can risk the spread of sexually transmitted diseases in our rural communities.
“There is also the risk of domestic violence and substance abuse, community division, marginalization and even civil conflict resulting in violence.
“Most of all the risk of social and cultural breakdown which is now fast deteriorating our past and current traditional practices is of great concern,” said Mr Zikuli.
The report has confirmed from its findings that child sexual exploitation was rife in some provinces involved in logging.
According to the report on a case study carried out “A leading cause of child prostitution in Makira is poverty of opportunity causing some parents to even give their daughters to loggers.”
“The need for money is a major contributing factor, with girls or their parents acknowledging that the sex trade has its financial rewards,” the report states.
“Parents see their daughters as links to accessing money and material goods.
“Surprisingly, the affected communities do not consider the commercial use of girls by those involved in logging as exploitation,” according to the report.
Mr Zikuli said these social problems costs have been overlooked and overshadowed by the very important environmental impact done by logging.
“This however should not be overlooked as it affects the lives of many people in our rural communities.
“Responsible authorities and people should now take into account such matter at hand because it is now start to escalate beyond our means to control,” Mr Zikuli added.