ZIMBABWE’S national timber sales volumes surged 44,5% to 267 888 cubic metres for the year ended December 2012 due to increased demand in both local and export sales, latest industry statistics show.
Report by Tarisai Mandizha
According to the Timber Producers’ Federation’s recently published annual report, timber export sales increased by 89% to $21,4 million from $11,3 million prior year while local sales increased by 50,8% to $36,1 million from $23,9 million on the same period last year.
Saw and processed timber for local sales increased to $28,311 million from $19,7 million while export sales increased to $17,3 million from $9 million in 2011.
Local sales for treated poles also increased to $4,7 million from $1,2 million while export sales were $3 million from $1,2 million in 2011.
Particle and fibre-board local sales grew to $3 million against $1 million in the prior year.
Commenting on the industry’s performance, Allied Timbers chief executive officer Joseph Kanyekanye said timber producers had shifted their focus to export markets due to biting liquidity constraints on the domestic market.
“There has been a shift from local to export market mostly Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Kenya and Tanzania mainly driven by high demand for treated poles, Sawn and processed timber,” Kanyekanye said.
Kanyekanye said the majority of the countries which had huge demand for treated poles were involved in electricity projects which was being funded by non- governmental organisations.
He, however, said there was need for government to capacitate the local market and revive the manufacturing industry by introducing lines of credit which had a long tenure and at an interest rate of 10%.
“Quite a lot of furniture manufacturing companies are suffering from liquidity challenges, but it’s ideal to now move towards value addition. What we also want is to have a situation to capacitate the industry,” he said.
Kanyekanye added that the Timber industry requires $450 million for everyone to operate at full capacity.
“Government must look at the possibility, to leverage mineral resources to capacitate the manufacturing sector,” Kanyekanye said.