4 September 2008

Zimbabwe: Timber Producers Seek New Markets

Harare — The Timber Producers Federation is considering penetrating new markets in the region to boost revenue inflows and enhance viability, an official said on Wednesday.

Chief executive officer Lloyd Mubaiwa told New Ziana that broadening the market base would significantly improve revenue from the timber business, which the hyperinflationary environment in the country has not spared.

"We plan to shift attention to countries in the region so that our timber fetches competitive prices," he said.

Mubaiwa said countries the federation was considering extending its tentacles to included Tanzania, Namibia and Angola.

"At the moment we are exporting to our traditional market South Africa," he said.

He said recently the industry had recorded a decrease in timber exports to South Africa, which had been developing its own forests.

South Africa has at least 1 200 000 hectares under timber, compared to Zimbabwe's 110 000, he said.

Mubaiwa said the debilitating economic environment in the country demanded establishment of an export market base to earn foreign currency and remain viable.

He urged responsible authorities to improve the road network linking Southern African countries to enhance trade between member states.

Zimbabwe exports mukwa, tick and eucalyptus to South Africa and Botswana.

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