Summit explores forestry sector's economic potential

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Industrialisation in the forestry sector has offered challenges that can be opportunities for accelerated growth, if addressed accordingly. 

Speaking at the Forestry Industrialisation Summit in Kempton Park on Wednesday, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe said the agro-processing and forestry sectors are key to growing the South African economy and creating sustainable jobs in rural areas.

“The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) plays a key role in the development of the manufacturing industry in the agro-processing sector. In the forestry sector, the dti has supported 46 projects during the last two financial years.

“In addition, the department has dedicated over R1.5 billion to the wood processing and board manufacturing industry through incentives schemes,” said the Deputy Minister.

The summit was hosted by the South African Forestry Company and other government departments.

Chairperson of the South African Forestry Company, Lungile Mabece, said the forestry industry faces some challenges with issues such as land claims.

“While there may be notable challenges in the industry, there still remains immense potential within the forestry industry to assist in growing industries… [and] impact rural development positively, while providing opportunities for new industries, as well as the development of entrepreneurs,” said Mabece.

In support of the sector, the dti has launched a R1 billion agro-processing Support Scheme (APSS), where furniture manufacturing and the wood processing sub-sectors will be assisted to improve their competitiveness.

The purpose of the summit was to engage stakeholders on the promotion of wood culture in the built environment, as well as the use of renewal resource in resolving the structural challenge that South Africa is facing. - SAnews.gov.za

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