Sawmillers technical training workshop
Zambia Green Jobs Programme, through its stakeholders and private sector partners, is developing new and alternative initiatives to curb deforestation and introduce a green construction sector, of which forest management is a fundamental component.
To support Small Forest Enterprises (SFEs) to grow and supply legal and sustainable wood products to construction companies, the programme has joined hands with the Zambia Forestry College to train SFEs in sustainable forestry, recognising that this has potential to provide green employment in afforestation and reforestation, trading, processing and supplying of building material, carpentry, joinery and furniture for the building, construction and infrastructure segments of the national economy.
Sawmillers technical training in Kitwe
Speaking at the launch of the Sawmillers Technical Trainings in Kitwe on the 26th of September, FAO Country Representative Mr George Okech stated that the building construction sector offers great potential for inclusive green growth and job creation, but for this to happen, there is need to take the necessary steps and adopt sustainable practices to lead to sustainable development. "Therefore, the technical and enterprise development skills training will enable Zambia's Sawmillers to supply sustainable (green) building material to the building and construction sector," he added.
The Sawmillers Technical Training, whose focus is to train sawmillers in sawmilling technologies, productivity and wood quality management, among other things, is being implemented by the Zambia Forestry College on behalf of the Zambia Green Jobs Programme. The Phase 1 of the training targets to train a total of 120 Sawmillers and will run from 26th September, 2016 to 31st January, 2017.
The programme appreciates that skills development through technical trainings and enterprise development is key in initiating the change process in the wood industry as well as contribute to lessening the waste levels of the raw material and in the end maximise profit. It is the programme's belief that a trained workforce will undoubtedly enhance the capacities of the wood MSMES and result in improved and new green jobs.
Background to forestry industry in Zambia
In Zambia, forest plantations cover some 75,000 hectares of land, with the main industry player in forestry, the Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation (ZAFFICO), controlling around 55,000 hectares. ZAFFICO has for a long time now been the major supplier of timber in the country. Due to increased demand for wood in the construction sector, however, supply has been affected particularly in the last two decades due to low annual planting and use of inappropriate plantation practices, among other things. While forests are essential for traditional medicines, wood fuel, food and building materials, one of the major encumbrances affecting the forestry industry is a lack of enforcement of certain timber standards. The result of this is deforestation.