Nqobile Tshili, Business Correspondent
ALLIED Timbers is set for a major rebound through exporting gum poles to Southern African countries for rural electrification projects.
The firm, an offshoot of the Forestry Commission, remains as one of the government’s key parastatals.
The company’s chief executive officer Dan Sithole said yesterday at the company’s Zimbabwe International Trade Fair stand, that major turnaround efforts were bearing fruit.
“The demand for transmission poles is huge. We’ve export orders from SADC countries with transmission poles. We’re exporting transmission poles to Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Botswana, and Namibia. On a monthly basis we’re having 10 trucks leaving the country with the poles with the 12-metre pole going for $200,” said Sithole.
He said Allied Timbers was introducing roof trusses into the market after realising the increased market in medium density suburbs.
Sithole said most of the companies that have been supplying timber to home builders have been short changing them as they were selling timber, which was not properly dried.
“If you use such timber for roofing it’ll give you perennial problems. Wet timber sags and once it sags it’ll give you problems. We want to inform our potential customers to use dry timber, which is dried and is offered by Allied Timbers,” he said.
The CEO said Allied Timbers has the technology to dry and season timber, which makes it very appropriate for roofing.
“We’re also now value adding the whole tree. We’ve been value adding 30 percent of the tree but now we want to utilise the whole tree and I believe this is in line with the government’s Zim-Asset blueprint of value addition and beneficiation,” he said.
Sithole said the firm has taken strides to fight deforestation and starting next year they will be planting more trees.
“We’ve a new goal, new vision and our shareholder is very, very, supportive. We’ve decided starting next year that we increase the replanting programme from 2,000 hectares a year to 6,000 hectares a year,” he said.
Sithole also said economic challenges are also affecting the company and it is trying to diversify to other products to remain relevant.
The company also produces doors, among other products.