ALLIED Timbers has re-hired milling contractors to argument production after lifting the suspension, which was also meant to eliminate indiscriminate harvesting of trees. Allied, the State owned company with more than 10 estates in Manicaland, Madlands and Matabeleland provinces, suspended contract milling in January this year.The move was meant to ensure resource sustainability.
Allied had awarded contracts to about 50 saw mill operators under a payment arrangement where harvested timber was equally shared between the company and the contractor.
The arrangement was to cover Allied’s production shortfalls since it did not have capacity.
Allied said it had established the rate at which the forests were being harvested was unsustainable.
“We stopped contract milling in January to instill discipline because we had realised that the arrangement was causing the indiscriminate cutting down of trees,” Allied CEO Dr Daniel Sithole said. “The suspension also allowed us to take stock of our resource.
“Now that we have instilled order, we have re-hired them in a manner that helps us to manage harvesting of trees on a sustainable basis while at the same time empowering locals.”
Dr Sithole said contract milling would help meet the company’s production shortfalls as it continues pursuing its recapitalisation programme to produce on its own.
Allied has already secured $2,1 million from Agribank and FBC Bank for recapitalisation while some officials from the company were in Belarus to identify the equipment the company intends to acquire under a $20 million facility from the European country.
The facility is part of several loans Zimbabwe is getting from Belarus to support productive sectors.
On the markets, Dr Sithole said the company was looking at increasing exports to Zambia to supply treated poles for its rural electrification programme.
“We have been supplying them but at a smaller scale and we are now looking to do it at a bigger scale,” he said. Allied also exports to, South Africa, Malawi and Mozambique.
Allied Timbers was born out of Forestry Commission in Zimbabwe in 2005. The idea of unbundling the commission was to separate regulatory activities from the commercial activities.
The intention was to enable both institutions to effectively pursue their mandates, with funds from the commercial wing supposed to assist in funding regulatory functions.
So the commercial wing gave rise to Forestry Company of Zimbabwe, later rebranded to Allied Timbers while regulatory activities were reconstituted into Forestry Commission.
Source: All Africa