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SSA – November / December 2022 Newsletter


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December 2022 has arrived. Another month, another year, can you believe it? November turned out to be not much different from previous Novembers, with the exception that 2022’s lumber market was a little slower than in the past.
Other interesting happenings this last month saw the Mpumalanga workshop  – as part of the Forestry Master Plan’s ‘Access to Funding and Modernisation’ pillars. Held in White River, the session was attended by 22 sawmillers from the region. This is a DTIC driven task supported by SSA that aims to introduce many small sawmillers to available funding mechanisms and how to access state-supported funding for the modernisation of a sawmilling business. Workshops were held in September in KZN and the Eastern Cape.

Also held in November was the third session of the working group dealing with the assessment tools for the trade of saw doctor. Comprising current practicing saw doctors and experts, this group has been meeting regularly under the guidance of the National Artisan Moderation Body (NAMB) for the last six months to establish and develop the trade test criteria for the trade of saw doctoring. We are hoping that the new year will see the completion of this work and that we will at last move closer to completing our new saw doctor qualification. The entire process has been overseen by Dianne Randall who has worked tirelessly to ensure that the process gets completed; we owe her a debt of gratitude for this most challenging task.    
Market condition and skills development aside the month, November also saw the COP 27* conference take place in Egypt where new research, backed by the FAO Advisory Committee on Sustainable Forest-Based Industries (ACSFI) and the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA). was launched. The report recommends ‘a call to action,’ for countries to take nationally determined approaches to growing their sustainable forest industries, thereby addressing an emerging global timber and wood fibre supply gap as the world pivots to climate friendly fibre supplies. You can access the report here.
Thomas Cradock from El-trade, our trading partner involved with Wespine in Australia, has left for a six month working stint with Wespine in Perth. His task is to learn about Australian sawmilling and meet as many of the Bunnings branches as he can and to get a feel for exactly what they expect from South African timber dealings. We are expecting bigger things from this initiative  in 2023
All that remains is for me to wish you all a blessed and peaceful festive season and a safe and exciting New Year. Let’s hope that 2023 brings better times for our sector.
Until next year don’t forget even in 2023 and just as Dave Crickmay would have said, “you will still need to keep cutting straight and drying flat”.
Have a good one and cheers, and be safe.

Roy Southey
Executive Director: Sawmilling South Africa

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