The Zambia National Association for Sawmillers has warned that over 50, 000 direct and indirect jobs within the timber industry are in jeopardy unless government opens and awards concessions to businesses.
The Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation-ZAFFICO-PLC inventory data revealed earlier this year, that pinewood stock has declined by 62 percent from over 3.37 million cubic meters in 2016 to just over 1.28 million cubic meters as of December 31, 2022.
In an interview with Phoenix News, Association General Secretary Derrick Chilatu says the timber sector is now utilizing the little stockpiles that ZAFFICO offloaded, but once depleted, there will be no jobs for about 50, 000 people who rely on the industry for survival.
Mr. Chilatu believes that, with ZAFFICO currently in survival mode and a few years until it has commercially viable timber stocks, the country must protect the business by authorizing concessions in other areas.
He has, however, urged that the concessions be offered to associations, such as his, which has over 900 members, rather than individuals, to ensure adequate impact.

News Source: Phoenix FM

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