New tim­ber prod­ucts a ‘game changer’

Farmer's Weekly (South Africa) - - Commodity Outlook 2019 -

High-tech wood-based prod­ucts such as nanocrys­talline cel­lu­lose, tim­ber-de­rived sug­ars, bio­plas­tics and green chem­i­cals are set to cre­ate sig­nif­i­cant added do­mes­tic and ex­port mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ties for South Africa’s com­mer­cial forestry sec­tor in 2019 and be­yond. This is in ad­di­tion to the in­creased lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional de­mand for con­ven­tional tim­ber prod­ucts that is an­tic­i­pated for the new year.

Michael Pe­ter, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Forestry South Africa (FSA), said that many na­tional and in­ter­na­tional ver­ti­cally in­te­grated pro­duc­ers of wood prod­ucts were in­vest­ing sig­nif­i­cant cap­i­tal into fur­ther pro­cess­ing and man­u­fac­tur­ing, which would gen­er­ate in­creased de­mand for lo­cal tim­ber.

Pe­ter said that de­mand was also driven by the ex­pected in­crease in so­cial hous­ing projects in South Africa.

“[Over­all] we ex­pect that 2019 will be bet­ter due to the an­tic­i­pated in­creased de­mand for tim­ber and lower an­tic­i­pated fuel costs, which will hope­fully im­prove re­turns for tim­ber grow­ers. These may, how­ever, be tem­pered by new forms of ad­min­is­tra­tive pric­ing such as the na­tional min­i­mum wage and other rents or taxes,” he added. – Lloyd Phillips

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