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Forestry industry claims regulations stunted timber plantations’ growth

A “VEXATIOUS” regulatory regime and broken promises from the government have hindered the growth of South Africa’s timber plantations, the forestry industry has claimed.

The forestry sector has been identified by the Department of Trade and Industry as having a strong potential for job and small business creation, both upstream and downstream. Timber is used in the paper and construction industries, among others.

But representatives of Forestry South Africa say the government has failed to act on its commitments to plant about 100,000ha in the Eastern Cape and to provide a grant for small growers.

Only about 2,000ha of the 100,000ha the state committed to eight years ago — in both the department’s industrial policy action plan and the sector’s broad-based black economic empowerment charter — had been planted and no fiscal commitment had been made to fund the grant announced in September 2012.

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