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Timber hectarage declines

BY SENZENI NCUBE

The Timbers Producers Federation (TPF) says the country is likely to experience a shortage of timber due to lack of appropriate tree gem plant which has been perpetuated by climate change-related issues.

This came out during a Low Emission Development Strategy (LEDS) and management consultative engagement meeting for the agriculture and forestry sectors.

The workshop was organised by the Climate Change Management Department in the Ministry of Lands and supported by the United Nations Development Programme.

TPF Chief Executive Officer Darlington Duwa said there is need for improved seeds.

“There is need for improved seeds that grows, and as a country we should be in a position to supply the seed to avoid the shortage,” Duwa said.

He said large quantities of timber is being lost due to veld fires.

“Due to challenges, the area has been steadily declining from as high as 120 000 hectares of commercial timber plantation to just above 70 000 last year,” he said.

“This is because of numerous challenges which have to do with the economy, shortages of diesel and working capital, among others, including the ease of doing business and veld fires that left large ripe trees burnt.

“A lot of areas have been damaged and this affected operations. As a result, companies downsized. There are also illegal settlers in our plantations.”

Duwa said there is also a need for an intensive timber agriculture programme.

“There is need for intensive agriculture so that even though planted on marginal lands they can be managed in a way that the output is increased.

“…but I must admit that there are some areas that we are unable to capture, those areas belonging to people who do not belong to our association and other small farmers elsewhere,” Duwa said.

He added that they have other regions that have a potential to plant more trees.

“We have areas some areas in other regions of about 40 000 hectares and have potential in planting trees, we have local people and international organisations that would want to come and plant more trees for bio energy.

“Others want to establish tree plantations in order harvest more raw materials”, he said.

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