Major boost for timber industry

The struggling timber industry received a major boost when one of the country`s largest timber producers, Allied Timbers, yesterday(Thursday) commissioned new machinery worth over $1 million at Gwindingwi sawmill plant in Chimanimani.

Joseph Kanyekanye
Joseph Kanyekanye

The new machinery, which was purchased from Germany, is part of the company`s grand plan to refurbish its five sawmills across the country to increase productivity.

In his address, Allied Timbers Chief Executive Officer, Joseph Kanyekanye, said there was urgent need to revamp and equip the country`s industry with modern and state-of-the-art machinery.

Kanyekanye said his organisation was in the process of restructuring and upgrading their mills so that they become competitive. "It's not a secret to those in the timber industry that our tradititional mills are no longer viable and making no money. Gwindingwi was not an exception, "he said.

Kanyekanye said the mordenisation phase would take two years to complete. He said timber products were sold across the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) duty free.

To improve efficiency, Kanyekanye said, all company supervisors would attend a mandatory one week management course to be administered by a consultant from University of Zimbabwe.

He also announced that Allied Timbers was seeking ISO14000 certification, an assurance to customers that their operations were environmentally sustainable.

Kanyekanye said 50 percent of the timber from Gwindingwi would be exported to such markets like South Africa. "A total of 400 cubic metres will be exported to Zambia monthly while the rest will be shared in the southern region of the country, namely Masvingo and Midlands," he said.

Gwindingwi has been producing 4, 000 cubic metres of sawn timber every month and with the installation of new equipment production is expected to increase while operation cost will be reduced by 45 percent.

New equipment is expected to generate $1 million in sales per month. Speaking at the same event, Saviour Kasukuwere, Environment, Water and Climate Minister, said the forestry industry was a major economic pillar.

He reiterated government`s commitment to resolve challenges affecting the country`s timber industry, chief among them illegal settlements on the plantations.

"We must revive the forestry industry in Manicaland. When we say we are going to do it we mean business," said Kasukuwere.

He also said 30 000 hectares of forest plantation have been lost to illegal settlements, adding that it was time for government to take action to avert the situation.

Post published in: Economy

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