17 June 2005

Kenya Imports Timber Worth Sh7 Billion

Nairobi — The country has been running a Sh7 billion timber import bill annually since the logging ban was imposed in 1999.

Acting Deputy Chief Conservator of Forests Peter Mbugua, says the imports comprised indigenous timber and related products.

Speaking during a Forest Department stakeholders' workshop in Mau region, Mbugua said the imports service the construction and furniture industry.

The logging ban that helped spur the imports had rendered several saw millers jobless.

Softwood timber used in construction has been hit hard by the ban and millers have resorted to private farms for supply of the product.

But manufactures -Raiply Timber, Timsales, Comply and Pan Paper-have been allowed to continue logging.

Mbugua said timber is imported from Uganda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where large covers of indigenous forests are still found.

The official told participants the imported softwood must undergo stringent inspection by his department and the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (Kephis) before it is allowed into the country.

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