Zimbabwe’s land redistribution policy has contributed to a decline of up to 50% in the country’s timber production.

Rises in production costs, veld fires, falling consumer demand for timber products and a slowdown in the property market are also being blamed for the slide.

The government’s land redistribution policy has seen thousands of white farmers being evicted, including plantation owners. And with property invasions still occuring, remaining owners are uncertain about expanding their plantations.

National statistics show 119,000m3 of timber was produced in 2001, with the figure dropping by 10% in 2002 to 108,000m3.