“For a long time, timber was the biggest employer in Manicaland both in terms of direct employment and through downstream industries such as transport,” said ZNCC president Hlanganiso Matangaidze. “But it is in dire straits. There is a crisis caused by serious power shortages and a lack of competitiveness.”
Fewer trees are being planted, and there are numerous problems to do with issues of capitalisation and outdated equipment. Timber industries such as MBPM, Allied Timbers, Border Timbers and Pine Products, which had been contributing between 80 and 90 per cent of exports, have fallen to 10 per cent.
According to estimates by some analysts, the industry requires investment of $450 million to operate at full capacity. Figures from the Timber Producers’ Federation’s annual report, show that timber exports for 2012 rose by 89 percent from $11,3 million in the previous year to $21,4 million. According to the federation, local sales increased by 50,8 percent to $36,1 million from $23,9 million in the previous year.