New timber products a ‘game changer’
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