If all the plans work, the challenge posed by the shortage of wood and its products will soon be a thing of the past, as ELEOJO IDACHABA reports on the plans made by both government and private initiatives in this regard.
Finally, what looks like a deliberate effort to alleviate the shortage of wood and related products in the form of newsprint is in sight, as indications to that effect have emerged that the federal government is about to establish lumberyards the whole length and breadth of the country. This was revealed recently at a wood show and exhibition in Abuja.
Part of the arrangement, according to Blueprint Weekend’s investigation, is to establish a wood technology park for the training of wood technicians and the massive planting of wood across the country. This is what the government intends to do through the Commodities Research and Development Board.
The statement drafted from the exhibition in Abuja stated that “the exhibition noted and commended the initiatives of the Raw Materials Research and Development Council to propose to jointly establish a wood technology park for the training of woodworking technicians. wood.
“He also noted the proposal to establish massive plantations (by the RMRDC) across the country for a sustainable supply of raw materials for the wood and wood products, pulp and paper industries, as well as for the protection of the environment.”
In addition, the statement stressed that the objective of the exhibition is to promote the sustainable use of forest resources as well as wood and wood products across the entire value chain of the sector while developing economic strategies for effective competition in the global market.
The wood fair
In his address, Wood Expo Nigeria Chairman, Danny Sokari-George, said there was a need to have certified forests in order to meet the Federal Government’s 25 million tree planting policy which, he noted, was achievable as Wood Expo Nigeria (WEN) would partner with state governments and engage youth to create jobs from the value chain.
“WEN’s vision is to partner with state governors to help the federal government achieve its plan to plant 25 million trees.
“It is not a waste of time to secure land and plant trees because when you plant trees today there are buyers ready to buy it here in Nigeria and abroad. And biologically, it is beneficial to the environment.
“We would encourage young people to plant trees because it would be beneficial for both parties. Young people would benefit economically and it would also help us solve forest depletion in Nigeria,” ne said.
The forum noted the growing environmental threats facing the country due to forest depletion and the need to develop effective strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change. Expo organizers noted with lament that there are currently no certified forests in Nigeria, a development that calls into question the legality of forest resources in the international market.
The mourning of printers
Previously, the country’s printers and industrial lumber manufacturers had protested the high cost of sourcing their raw materials from overseas.
Speaking to this reporter, a printer from the popular Commerce Plaza in Zone 1, Dele Akariwo, said that the printing plant had performed below expectations for the past 20 years. HeAkariwo, who said he had been in the business since 1998 in Lagos before moving to Abuja, noted with dismay that the quality of newsprint has gone down considerably as currently the local raw materials are of poor quality. Only industrial and large-scale printers like newspaper companies can afford to export raw materials from outside the country.
“Right now some of us who print books, novels, calendars, etc. are content with local materials and that’s why the quality seems to have gone down,” he said.
In his view, a newsprint entrepreneur, Alhaji Shuaib Magaji, told Blueprint Weekend over the phone that the business was struggling due to shortage of raw materials.
He said, “I usually get my supplies from Kano before distributing them to end users here in Abuja. Even in Kano, supplies come either from Burkina Faso or the Republic of Benin. The different supply chains are due to the fact that the industry is almost dead in Nigeria, but the impression must continue. That’s why we do everything we can to get newsprint.
When reminded of the plan to establish forest parks across the country, Alhaji Magaji said it would revive the industry.
“This is the first time in more than 30 years that we have heard that the government intends to intervene to save the industry, otherwise all the efforts to keep the industry alive have been the only contribution of private initiatives and individual companies.
Nature of business
Lately, the newspaper and print media industry in Nigeria is believed to be big business and not for the faint-hearted. This is because start-up costs are significant. However, this depends solely on the newspaper’s coverage. There are various types of newspapers and print media companies in Nigeria today, ranging from community newspapers such as university/campus community newspapers, to state-owned newspapers with coverage only in certain states, regional newspapers and national newspapers.
National newspapers are mostly in the form of dailies and produce new productions daily. Comparing all existing newspaper publication types mentioned above, the survey shows that newspapers with national coverage are the most difficult as there are huge logistical challenges that involve freight and an elaborate distribution network that must be established in order to achieve adequate distribution of newspapers.
For new entrants into printing or newspaper businesses, the cost implications should be properly considered and a general knowledge of rough estimates should be known to avoid the incident of a dropped project.
For Nigeria and many other countries, printing materials including workbooks, textbooks have become more expensive in recent times as the scarcity of the dollar increases the cost of importation. This is the result of data obtained by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in May 2022.
The report shows that in the past four years alone, more than 1.2 trillion naira has been spent on importing newsprint into the country. It is because of the three known paper mills in the country before now; none works even at half capacity.
According to BNS data, the cost of importing paper into the country in one year increased by 74.36% to 328.9 billion naira in 2021 from 188.6 billion naira in 2020.
In 2018, the total amount spent was N214.37 billion while in 2019 (N491.10 billion). This means that over 1.23 trillion naira has been spent over the past four years.
In 2019, an architect, Bosede Omoloya Idegbesor, propelled by the discovery of the gap and lack of synergy in policy implementation between forest sector actors, launched the WEN platform. It is a convergence forum for conservationists, forest agencies, academics, timber manufacturers, industrialists, investors and government agencies to discuss and identify looming challenges and vast opportunities in the country’s forest reserves.
The objective is to develop sustainable ways to preserve the forest ecosystem as well as to explore the many potentials of the sector.
The benefits of this park for the furniture market, according to cabinetmaker Emmanuel Alao, are immense. He said, “Wood is so expensive in the market now. The masonry wood that we used to buy for industrial chairs is now so expensive because the materials are now imported. That’s why all that furniture displayed in glass buildings is so expensive. If we could get raw materials locally, prices would go down. Like you said, if the government wants to plant timber across the country, that’s a good development, but how long can we wait for them to grow and mature before they’re cut down for use? What about plans to replant them after cutting them down? »
In Adamawa State, for example, a private initiative led by the Barr Iliya Kwache Foundation is looking in this direction by distributing seedlings to the population.
According to the Chairman of the Board of the Foundation, Barr Kwache, “One of our visions at the IY Kwache Foundation is to support and protect our environment through the massive planting of trees to ensure a safer world. and better for the future generation.For me, my philosophy is that I believe in doing my little part to solve a problem rather than sitting around and moaning and complaining when we can do something about it.
It is hoped that with the initiative of the Federal Government alongside private movements by the likes of Kwache and others, the challenges faced in the sector will soon become a thing of the past.