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Feb 16, 2023

Three Eastern Cape Rural Development Agency (ECRDA) community-owned forestry
enterprises delivered 12,584 tons of timber valued at R10,5 million to the commercial
markets in the 2021/22 financial year.

The enterprises are located in Sinawo and Izinini (Joe Gqabi) and in Mkambathi (OR
Tambo). The ECRDA also supports forestry projects in Sixhotyeni (OR Tambo) and in
Gqukunqa (Alfred Nzo). A total of 4,360 hectares (ha) of timber is planted at these five

“The forestry development programme received a R1,9 million budget in the 2021/22
financial year. An additional amount of R2 million was secured much later in the year. This
took the total budget for the year to R3,9 million.

The additional budget was used in the recruitment of a further 200 temporary jobs for a
period of three months during the last part of the financial year. The remainder of the budget
was used to buy two tractors and two laptops,” says ECRDA chief executive Simon Qobo.
In addition, in the forestry value chain, transporting timber to markets remains the key cost-
driver. In some instances, transportation costs account for more than 50% of total harvesting
costs. In addressing this challenge, the Mkambathi forestry enterprise took a resolution to
buy a horse and-trailer truck valued at R2.3 million to provide long-haul services as an
additional revenue stream for the enterprise.

This should reduce the exorbitant costs of transporting timber up to R200 000 per month.
Qobo says a total of R2,54 million was used for employee costs at the enterprises, including
the ECRDA forestry unit resources. There was no new planting in 2021/22. This was mainly
attributed to the absence of an operational grant during the review period. It should be noted
that coppice management is applied to all the clear felled areas in order to produce a second
rotation of trees without having to replant such harvested areas.

A total of 220, 187 person hours were recorded for the forestry enterprises. This amounts to
an equivalent of 106 permanent jobs for the year.

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