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Mansa timber plantation to boost business

BILKE MULENGA, Mansa
TIMBER traders in Mansa are optimistic that the establishment of the timber plantation in Kawambwa district by the Zambia Forest and Forestry Corporation (ZAFFICO) will translate into lucrative business.
The traders, who have been buying their products from the Copperbelt, said timber business is expensive due to the distance and are hopeful that when the Kawambwa plantation is operational, this will result in reduced cost of doing business.
Group secretary Royd Mwaba said in an interview that currently, most of the traders find it expensive to buy timber from Kalulushi, Kitwe, Lufwanyama or Ndola districts and transport it to Mansa.
He said the business has been a challenge to most of them, resulting in majority of them failing to meet the expenses involved, and have since stopped.
“Traders have to travel to Copperbelt, and when they buy the timber, they negotiate with transporters to ferry the goods to Mansa. We also pay various levies on the way. Now, having a plantation within our province will make things easier for us,” he said.
Mr Mwaba said transport cost from Kitwe to Mansa is between K5, 000 to K7,000 per load excluding lodging expenses, levies, and paying loaders among others.
He said when the province had forests namely; Lufubu in Mwansabombwe district and another in Samfya district, the costs were minimal because they were near Mansa town.
“Just when the two forests were defunct, we started facing challenges in doing our businesses. At the moment, one has to have a minimum of K10, 000 to start timber business,” he said.
The ZAFFICO has just established a timber plantation of about 20,000 hectares in Kawambwa district.

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