Border Timbers resumes timber exports to Zambia
By Tichaona Kurewa
Harare – Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed group, Rift Valley Corporation’s subsidiary, Border Timbers Limited (BTL) has resumed export of treated poles to Zambia, as the company seeks to expand its revenue base and to return to profitability, a source at the company told The Southern Times.
BTL manages four plantation estates of pine and eucalyptus varieties for production of lumber at its two sawmill and pole production and pole treatment plants situated in Nyamakate, in Mutare (Manicaland Province).
Zambia is Zimbabwe’s second largest export destination with goods and services worthy US$84.9 million crossing the Zambezi River in the first five months of 2016.
Other exports to Zambia comprise plastic products; iron and steel products; agricultural equipment and implements; cement; paper and wood products, medicaments; alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages; sugar confectionery; food preparations; edible oils; chemicals and fertilisers, among others.
The source said the poles would be exported from BTL’s Mutare treatment plants.
“(Borders Timbers Limited is inviting transport tenders for) poles out-bound transport services (from) Mutare to various destinations in Zambia,” it said without giving details on the quantities to be exported.
In its efforts to further facilitate companies to tap into the Zambian market and consolidate their presence, ZimTrade in collaboration with the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, coordinated the participation of local companies at the Zambia Agricultural and Commercial Show held in Lusaka in 2015.
Zambia currently exports foodstuff, electricity and fertiliser to its southern neghbour.
Other export destinations for Zimbabwean timber include South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania and Kenya.
Allied Timbers Holdings is another Zimbabwean company, which is also into exporting timber and related products.
Founded in 1979, Border Timbers is an amalgamation of three companies namely Border Eastern Forest Estates, Renfee Timbers (Pvt) Limited and Forestry Management Services.
Forestry Management Services took over plantations that were first established in Imbeza by the British South African Police (BSAP) Company in 1924.
The BSAP increased plantings substantially in 1946 after the Second World War to include the Chimanimani area. Since 1979, Border Timbers has grown the plantation size to the current around 48 000 hectares.
Of the 48 000 hectares of land, approximately 28 000 hectares are under plantation and the remaining 20 000 hectares are reserved for open area management – conservation, river and streams, heritage sites, roads and access routes.
Of the 28 000 hectares of plantable area, 82 percent is under softwood production. The balance is primarily Eucalyptus grandis and Eloeziana on both saw log and pole rotation. The company has three divisions, namely, the forestry, sawmilling and manufacturing divisions.
The forestry division manages five estates: Tilbury, Charter and Sawerombe in the Chimanimani area to the south of Mutare town and Imbeza and Sheba to the north in the Penhalonga area.
Logs harvested by the division are processed at the three sawmills namely, Charter, Tilbury and Sheba all in Manicaland Province.