By Kenneth Matimaire
TIMBER production racked in up to US$37,5 million from both local and export sales in 2020, NewZimbabwe.com can reveal.
Statistics gathered from the Timbers Producers Federation (TPF) indicated that a total of ZWL$1,1 billion (US$13,4m) was generated through local sales while US$18,1 million was realised in exports.
Comprehensive comparative figures for the previous immediate years of 2019 and 2018 were not readily available as there were challenges in constituting the currencies tendered.
TPF 2020 report indicated that sawn and processed timber recorded the biggest sales of ZWL$ 125,9 million (US$1,5m) in local sales and US$7,6 million through exports.
Treated poles generated a combined US$4,9m and followed by particle and fibreboard which racked in 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.
“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 sale to them. Also the export markets as well. They were affected by Covid-19 with almost complete shutdown in South Africa initially, which is our main export destination,” lamented Duwa.
He further indicated that the illegal occupation of 20 101 hectares by 2 330 illegal settlers has also affected the sector.