The Ministry of land and forestry is seeking for more investors to invest in Timber production and other related industries to boost forestry and timber business locally, officials in the ministry have said.
Made in Rwanda initiative approach holds the key to the successful economic growth in the country since it promotes locally made products and job creation in the process.
New Forests Company (NFC) which is popularly known for its quality products started value addition on products that come from the two saw mills early this year. Speaking to the iRwanda24, Alex Madhinga, NFC Sawmill Business Manager gave an insight on the new value addition plant, the first of its kind in the country that is located in Nyanza District Southern Province and how its production output is impacting on Rwanda.
“The company started adding value to the timber from the saw mills early 2018 and of the 13,000 cubic meters of timber produced annually; value is added to over 4580 cubic meters of timber at the new facility. The current drying capacity is approximately 7,000 m3 annually,” Madhinga explained.
“Depending on demand of value added tumber locally and outside the country the company will add more kilns to cutter for this demand.”
The company has two saw mills; one located at Kitabi Sector in Nyamagabe District and another at Kamastira in Nyamasheke District, the two sawmills employ approximately 132 workers many of which are people living around the concession zone.
Nyungwe forest buffer zone is a man made forest that covers 11,000 hectares, the biggest in the country.
Powerful investors in Rwanda are taking advantage of a new money-making opportunity investing in trees. Trees have become an attractive investment because of the rising cost of timber and the allure of carbon credits.
Forests currently cover 29.6 %( 10.3 % natural and 19.3 % plantations) of the dry land area of the national territory and the aim is to achieve a 30% target by 2020.
Forests are the major source of domestic cooking energy, with 86.3% of the Rwanda population using bio-fuels in different forms, wood and charcoal being the dominant ones.
Rwanda’s energy policy, however, has planned to reach the level of 563 MW electricity generation by 2018 which will fulfill the population’s access to 70% and decrease the dependence on fuel wood to 50%, lessening the pressure exerted on forests.
Forests also provide the foundation for Rwanda’s tourism opportunities, which are targeted to generate over US$ 600 million by 2020. Rwanda’s forests also protect watersheds, downstream wetlands and support agriculture.
However, due to dense and rapidly increasing population on a fragile land resource, forests have been threatened by deforestation and continuous degradation.
Head of department of forest in Rwanda Water and Forestry Authority, Dismas Bakundukize, told iRwanda24 that NFC pole production plant has created jobs for more than 300 Rwandans, and given value to forest woods, adding there still opportunities and encouraged partners be local or foreign to take chance and invest in this growing business.
He said that there are other benefits, such as working with the residents through helping them to plant their own trees in the vicinity of Nyungwe National Park.
NFC gives seedlings to farmers at no cost to grow wood-lots, makes follow ups to check on performance of the trees and advice farmers when it’s time to thin & prune. NFC has, to date, distributed more than 350,000 seedlings for over 250 hectares to private growers.