The Federation said the national timber sales volumes surged 44.5 percent to 267 888 cubic metres for the year ended December 2012 due to increased demand in export sales.
According to the Timber Producers’ Federation recently published annual report, timber export sales increased by 89 percent to US$21.4million from US$11.3million prior year in monetary terms.
“Sales increased by 50.8 percent to US$36.1million from US$23.9million on the same period last year,” the federation said in a statement.
Commenting on the industry’s performance, Allied Timbers Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Joseph Kanyekanye said timber producers had shifted their focus to export markets due to biting liquidity constraints on the domestic market.
“There has been a shift from local to export market mostly Botswana mainly driven by high demand for treated poles, sawn and processed timber,” Kanyekanye said.
Kanyekanye said Botswana had huge demand for treated poles because the country is involved in electricity projects, some of them funded by international non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Botswana is currently electrifying most parts of the country under its rural electrification programme partly funded by the Swedish government.
Saw and processed timber for export sales increased to US$17.3million from a mere US$9million in 2011.
“Export sales were US$3 million from US$1.2 million in 2011,” the statement further stated.
Since 2008, a Zimbabwean timber processing company, Border Timbers Limited, has been positioning itself to profit from growing demand for wood products in Botswana.
Rising demand for timber in Botswana has over the years seen Zimbabwe’s biggest timber grower and processor, Allied Timber Holdings, formerly Forestry Company of Zimbabwe, setting up Altim City Botswana in Gaborone.
And a few years ago, Border Timbers followed suit.
In the company’s financial report for last year, Border Timbers said the group was waiting to be awarded tenders in Botswana for transmission poles.