By Leonard Magomba, featured in The East African, October 19th 2009
Kilombero Valley Teak Company Ltd has invested $8.8 million into a modern sawmill and wood processing factory to process wood and timber products locally.
The factory, commissioned in August this year, is expected to generate export revenue in excess of $10 million per annum.
Hans Lemm, the forest product manager said the company decided to invest in the plant to add value to local harvested teak and boost production capacity of wood by-products in the country.
“The final products have so far secured markets in the Far East, Europe, East Africa and north America and this investment has distinguished the company to be one of the most significant investments in the East African forestry sector,” he said.
The company has so far planted approximately 7,800 hectares of teak trees since 1993 and manages approximately 20,000 hectares of indigenous forest land.
Community Development manager Kennedy Haule said that the company currently employs about 700 people directly and indirectly on its plantations.
“There is direct employment of approximately 120 people who work and manage the plantations and 110 people are employed at the wood processing facilities,” said Mr. Haule.
Over the past five years Kilombero has contributed approximately $150,000 to a number of local projects among them schools, dispensaries, housing for teachers and village halls.
In 2004, Kilombero was awarded ISO 14001 certification in conformation that the company’s environmental management standards meet international criteria.
General manager Riaan Van Wyk said the company has maintained its ISO 14001 certification since then, with annual audits being successfully done.
Mr Van Wyk sad that this year, SGS certified the company under the Timber Legality and Traceability Verification scheme which guarantees buyers of its products that they were legally sourced and are from well-managed forests.
With major shareholders including UK and Finnish development funds, Kilombero is dedicated to delivering high value teak wood and by-products, sustainably and ethically sourced.