Statistics gathered from the Timbers Producers Federation (TPF) indicate that timber production is reported to have generated up to US$37.5 million from both local and export sales in 2020.
NewZimbabwe.com can reports that a total of ZWL$1.1 billion (US$13.4m) was generated through local sales while US$18.1 million was realised in exports.
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TPF 2020 report indicated that sawn and processed timber recorded the biggest sales of ZWL$ 125.9 million (US$1.5m) in local sales and US$7.6 million through exports.
Treated poles generated a combined US$4.9m while particle and fibreboard generated US$7.4m.
The least sales were recorded in wattle extract; pulp and paper products; charcoal; doors, chairs, seats and backs.
TPF chief executive officer Darlington Duwa said 2020 timber sales were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Duwa lamented:
The timber industry was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. While the timber industry was exempted from the restrictions that were imposed on the greater economy. We then had challenges of logistics, our suppliers had been closed and there was limited movement through the borders.
And also our markets were affected. The construction industry was initially closed and people were not going to work. They are our biggest market and we were not able to sell them. Also the export markets as well. They were affected by Covid-19 with an almost complete shutdown in South Africa initially, which is our main export destination.
He further indicated that the illegal occupation of 20 101 hectares by 2 330 illegal settlers has also affected the sector.
Comprehensive comparative figures for the previous immediate years of 2019 and 2018 were not readily available as there were challenges in constituting the currencies tendered.
Two decades ago, the forestry sector contributed about 3% to the GDP largely from exotic plantations and commercial indigenous timber. The figure, however, grossly misrepresented the contribution of forests and woodlands to the country’s economy as most of their products and services are not captured in the national-level statistics.
Most of Zimbabwe’s timber comes from the Eastern Highlands where there are excellent soils and climate highly favourable for forestry plantations.
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