African timber industry reels under Covid-19

By | 2020-07-16T12:10:22+00:00 July 16th, 2020|

According to a report by the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the timber industry has been significant.

The impact of Covid-19 on the African timber industry has been substantial. Image credit: Cafi.com

The impact of Covid-19 on the African timber industry has been substantial. Image credit: Cafi.com

Of all the 47 African member countries of the WHO, about 60% have reported Covid-19 cases in multiple locations around the country. However, the report states that there is no clear picture on how the pandemic has affected timber companies. What is certain though, is that jobs are being lost and that African economies will see a drastic drop in export earnings from the timber sector in the coming months.

Sawmills in Cameroon are reportedly not operating as they have few orders, no log supply and because of coronavirus control measures. Despite harsh lockdowns in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), logging companies have not been included in the ban. In Equatorial Guinea a large number of containers with Kevazingo sawnwood have been seized in Bata Port. The authorities say that when the pandemic is over inspection of the legality of the shipments will be conducted.

Analysts report that log exports continue and that shipments comprise mainly okoume and redwoods such as tali, padouk, some bosse and doussie. In the Republic of the Congo, some companies, including the larger ones in the north of the country, are still operating a number of companies, especially in the south of the country, have suspended operations altogether, and the sector as a whole has cut production.