By Chibamba Kanyama

Zambia is losing revenue from illegal cutting of trees. Mongu district forestry department confiscating timber from unlicensed dealers at Mongu central market during a market inspection exercise in MonguGovernment should beef up the timber industry so as to effectively take advantage of the looming timber shortage in South Africa. It is projected the South African local timber industry will not be able to meet the increasing demand for sawn timber, a situation that opens up the market to other countries to meet the shortfall.

Zambia, one of the most reliable timber producers in Sub-Saharan Africa, is not in a position to exploit huge export opportunities owing to immerse structural and administrative problems facing the timber industry. Timber production is currently controlled by the private sector of which over 50 percent are small scale entrepreneurs who lack financial and technical capacity. Zambian banks equally shun financing the sector as it is considered too risky risks for investment.

Given that the annual demand for timber is expected to grow at about 4.5 percent with a projected supply deficit of 15 million tonnes in the long term in South Africa, the Zambian Government can facilitate growth in the sector so that timber becomes one of the key non-traditional exports. It is also known Zambian timber is on huge demand in Zimbabwe and China but the potential for exports has been limited by ad hoc timber production arrangements in the country. At present, the South African government has not instituted tariff protection on imports, implying that there is a huge opportunity for exporters to fill the gap in the timber deficit.

Government support can be in the form of restructuring the production process of timber, streamlining export mechanisms, increasing acreage of land for cultivation of timber and enabling investors to access affordable finance for the acquisition of timber processing equipment. This will allow companies, especially the Small and Medium enterprises, add value to the product through which they can get competitive returns.

A significant investment in forestry and timber production has potential to create jobs for thousands of people in the country. This is one sector that can easily be controlled by local investors if Government renders full support.

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33 COMMENTS

  1. This industry needs sorting out first iwe Ka Chibamba Kanyama. There is a scam which has been going on since the UNIP days. People walk into Zambia and get Timber as they wish.

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  2. Sure hope there is someone who is going to take actions and not let the “timber harvestors” exploit the situation.

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  3. # 1 Italian Bunga Bunga, I think you have a problem comprehending statements. Is that not Chibamba Kanyama is saying? UPGrade your IQ my brother.

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  4. Government has actually ignored this industry. small scale traders are being exploited by the Zimbabweans and Motswanas in Sesheke, Kazungula. This is a massive industry that requires immeidate government intention.

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  5. Italian Bunga Bunga  still waiting for you to bring over a woman from your family so you can hold them while I “DO” them. Then you can clean me up after I finish.
    Vafankulu

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  6. Bwana @ 5 Do behave l know you are sick from the threesomes you have with your father and mother. You father holds you mother and sisterss down while and your dogs shag them the your father cleans them before chopping his own daughters

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  7. We need to satisfy our local market and we are very far from doing that so there is no point for us to look at foreign markets in this situation please go to NDOLA and see how ZAFICO is fairing very poorly the forest is gone very soon its us to import. This simply means we are in the same problem looming shortage of timber were are we going from here.Others are stealing timber in western province whats going on we ned GRZ coming in and control things otherwise.

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  8. Look at how the forests have been depleted because of illegal timber exports and as well as charcoal burning. South Africans are themselves preserving their forests whilst we are busy deforesting our country. Just look around and see the areas that used to be lash woodlands look like now. We must put in a policy which will ensure we replenish our forests and export with caution.

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  9. The media has successfully painted Gaddafi as a hard-core dictator, tyrant whatever you want to call him. However, the media as usual has also failed to show the kind, giving Gaddafi we never heard of. Gaddafi unlike most dictators I will refrain from naming them has managed to show his humane side, the very side we dream of seeing in other dictators who just talk and talk.

    I consider Libyans lucky to a certain extent and one wonders with the new democratic rule they cry for will it improve or worsen life for them. Yes, Gaddafi has spent millions of Libya`s money on personal ventures but is the average Libyan poor? We know others who take a country and destroy it until you feel like there is no hope of restoring this country… looting some prefer to call it.

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    • actually libyans will regret their decision. Gaddafi did a lots of good things for their country than bad.

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  10. Did Gaddafi loot Libya in any way?

    Now let us get to the unknown facts about the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi:

    1. There is no electricity bill in Libya; electricity is free for all its citizens.
    2. There is no interest on loans, banks in Libya are state-owned and loans given to all its citizens at 0% interest by law.
    3. Home considered a human right in Libya – Gaddafi vowed that his parents would not get a house until everyone in Libya had a home. Gaddafi’s father has died while him, his wife and his mother are still living in a tent.
    4. All newlyweds in Libya receive $60,000 Dinar (US$50,000) by the government to buy their first apartment so to help start up the family.

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  11. 5. Education and medical treatments are free in Libya. Before Gaddafi only 25% of Libyans are literate. Today the figure is 83%. 6. Should Libyans want to take up farming career, they would receive farming land, a farming house, equipments, seeds and livestock to kick-start their farms – all for free. 7. If Libyans cannot find the education or medical facilities they need in Libya, the government funds them to go abroad for it – not only free but they get US$2,300/mth accommodation and car allowance. 8. In Libyan, if a Libyan buys a car, the government subsidized 50% of the price. 9. The price of petrol in Libya is $0.14 per liter. 10. Libya has no external debt and its reserves amount to $150 billion – now frozen globally.

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  12. 11. If a Libyan is unable to get employment after graduation the state would pay the average salary of the profession as if he or she is employed until employment is found.
    12. A portion of Libyan oil sale is, credited directly to the bank accounts of all Libyan citizens. 13. A mother who gave birth to a child receive US$5,000
    14. 40 loaves of bread in Libya costs $ 0.15
    15. 25% of Libyans have a university degree
    16. Gaddafi carried out the world’s largest irrigation project, known as the Great Man-Made River project worth $27billion, to make water readily available throughout the desert country.

    Which other dictator has done much good to his people?

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  13. You africans are too dull, you lack the brain capacity to develop anything. You only know how to steal, dress and showoff. Bring in chinese or whites or indians to run your timber industry.

    I have been to Zambia on many occasions and despite more than 40 years independence, your country remains a slum. Each goverment you elect just goes to steal. When the day come to admit you are retards, and need outside help is the day you will move forward. Look at Malaysians in less than 50 years their country is developed,
    as for now dont complain just accept what you can do, which is next to nothing.

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    • Don’t tarnish the name of white settlers. You are a just a disgruntled black ass. Can’t deceive anyone.

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  14. @12-15 Gadhafi

    If what you are saying is true, then Libyans are in for a big shock because no Western Democracy will keep them the way Gadhafi kept them. western Democracy believe in only a few should be rich and the majority should suffer as it is the case with USA where just 1% of Americans control the economy, politics, media, judiciary etc. 

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  15. @18, White settler

    You are an *****. a big one for that matter.Who told you we need outsiders to develop our country? we shall do it ourselves even if it takes 1million years.Do you know how long it has taken UK to be where it is? even Uk or US were at some time big SLUMS. Go and advise your fellow pigs if you are truely white. 

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  16. Gadafi..

    The west just whanrets those benifts you mention. They are ina hurry to get to libya. But they will find it hard to penetrate as libyans a loyal muslims as witnessed by thier beautifull women
    all religoiuly wearing vails. First they west will try to corrupt them in order to get to thier wealth more easily. But i have a feeling this will back fire as 40 years of Gadafis anti-western tantrums have been ingrained in Libayans mentality.

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  17. The article is good. That’s one way of wealth creation. This industry is not utilised to its full potention. UNIP invested heavily in this industry. With GVT input in aforestation and abundunce of natural timber, the industry can last many years. Am sure some colledges shall make available practicle enterprenueship courses.

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  18. Its really good to hear Chibamba talk about the sector which is highly neglected in this country. Forests resources are depleting at an alarming rate and the forestry department just watch the situation worsen. PF government please come down to departments as well and sort out the mess happening in these departments. forestry Department need a complete overhaul for it to perform otherwise the country is headed for environmental crises in the near future. we are lucky we have a listening government now.

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  19. I agree with Chibamba Kanyama, currently i have about 10,000 saplings of pine for sale but no marKet**==

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  20. I thank all those contributing to this discussion,true the sector has been neglected for a long time,something needs to be done for sustainability.i wish to remind Mr. Kanyama that the industry here in South Africa is still thriving even for the next hundred years,since the know to maintain it, i don’t know where he got his information from.i am a proudly Zambian,

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  21. The timber industry in Zambia faces a serious shortage in next few years. The scenario in South Africa may just be the same as the case here in Zambia. The major source of softwood (pine and eucalyptus mainly) has been the Copperbelt. These trees that we are using were planted in the KK regime. For pine to reach harvesting, we need at least 7 years for first pruning. The implication is that however we look at it; we are going to have a shortage. Already ZAFFICO is seriously rationing the supply of round wood to saw millers. This is causing many sawmillers to actually wound up because of poor utilisation of installed capacity. In my view therefore the emphasis is that we must put in place strong mechanism to encourage massive tree planting.

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  22. This intervention should be in form of policies that give incentives for private participation in tree planting. If we do not put in such mechanism now, we will definitely be in worse off position than even our numbers. Just fly over Ndola forest plantation and you will see how the scenario is. ZAFFICO itself needs to energised to ensure that forest resources are not exploited without due consideration for the future. ZAFFICO needs to restructured and financed to be able to spearhead this initiative to restock soft wood stocks in Zambia.

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  23. This intervention should be in form of policies that give incentives for private participation in tree planting. If we do not put in such mechanism now, we will definitely be in worse off position than even our neighbours. Just fly over Ndola forest plantations and you will see how the scenario is. ZAFFICO itself needs to energised to ensure that forest resources are not exploited without due consideration for the future. ZAFFICO needs to be restructured and financed to be able to spearhead this initiative to restock soft wood stocks in Zambia.

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  24. As for hardwood, my view is if we can, we must completely outlaw commercial timber harvest of the indigenous species. For these stocks it takes over 70 – 100 years for a tree to grow to maturity. We also must think of climate change (global warming) implication. It is already a known fact Zambia stands to be worst affected by effects of climate change. The government must sensitize the nation about the benefits of carbon trading and the opportunity for raising of finance through this option. Your forest can earn you cool bucks whilst still standing!

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  25. Last time I checked the Timber Association of Zambia was complaining about foreign companies externalising profits and ripping off local timber companies, these associations should be operating much more shrewdly instead of running to the government; why not lobby the MPs from these forestry areas that’s why you put them there, lean on them force government to implement policy via Parliament.
    The government at the moment is more interested in mining and is ignoring a sustainable, highly lucrative industry with guaranteed profits and jobs.  

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  26. Hello, Neat post. There’s a problem together with your website in internet explorer, would test this? IE nonetheless is the marketplace leader and a good element of people will miss your magnificent writing due to this problem.

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