ZimTrade urges value addition to wood veneer

29 Sep, 2022 - 00:09 0 Views
ZimTrade urges value addition to wood veneer Wood veneer is well known for its strength, which makes products last longer as it shields solid wood from aging effects.

The Herald

 Michael TomeBusiness Reporter

TRADE development and promotion body, ZimTrade has implored timber producers to consider the value addition of veneer by using it to produce further valued added products like furniture to grow their revenue base and export earnings.

Veneer refers to thin slices of wood and bark, usually thinner than three millimetres, typically used to produce flat panels for doors, cabinets, parquet floors and parts of furniture.

The product is well known for its strength, which makes products last longer as it shields solid wood from aging effects.

In 2021 the United States was the biggest importer of veneer having imported US$492,2 million worth of veneer followed by China and Vietnam which imported US$381,5 million and US$340,9 million, respectively.

Zimbabwe has an established commercial pine timber and hardwood plantations that are used for making structures in the construction sector.

 “Besides selling veneer as sheets they can be value added into doors, tops, and panels for cabinets, parquet floors, and parts of furniture by gluing into boards,” said ZimTrade in its August issue.

However, the forestry industry is capital intensive, and thus the need for constant support from local financiers for guaranteed continuity and development.

Some firms in the industry say their operations are being hampered by local banks’ high cost of finance which has become a deterrent to borrowing working capital.

Wattle Company managing director Victoria Jakazi said value addition was a commendable proposition for the domestic timber industry, which many firms in the timber industry are considering.

Mrs Jakazi

She further highlighted that before value adding for the export market there still remain supply gaps to be covered in the local market.

“We started making veneer last year but we are exporting most of it raw, yes it gives us returns but we have plans already that we start value adding and make doors and plywood. As Wattle Company we are currently trying to value-add all our products.

“Our plantations primarily are for timber but there is a lot we are going to add including to make the MBX board that is currently being imported into the country so we intend to be filling that gap,” said Mrs Jakazi.

Value-added wood products are commonly considered to be the highest income earners, through the manufacture of high-value products such as furniture, flooring, or specialised panelling.

According to the Trade Map, Zimbabwe exported veneer worth US$199 000 in 2021.

China imported US$141 000 worth of the product from Zimbabwe while South Africa was second at US$41 000.

ZimTrade also revealed that veneer production costs are lower and companies can earn more profits and bring the much-needed foreign currency into the country.

The United States, China, Vietnam, India, Germany, Italy, Austria, Spain, Canada and Cambodia are some of the major importers of veneer which they then develop into boards used for home construction. 

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