Consolidated Processing Industries (CPI) is installing machinery worth over $1 million (about K750 million) for a factory envisioned to produce value-added wood products in Viphya Plantation in Mzimba District.
In an interview, managing director Tawonga Mtegha said the factory will be churning out plywood, doors, beds, block boards and furniture.
“The company will maximise use of the wood to reduce wastage and pressure on the forest. The modern equipment will use over 90 percent of the logs. Even the sawdust dust will be used to make pellets which can be used as charcoal in homes,” he explained.
The directors envisage the company employing almost 300 workers, including the locals surrounding the forest.
With about 16 percent of the machinery planted, the company has a workforce of about 60.
CPI promised to replant 10 000 hectares that have been depleted.
CPI chairperson Enoch Zimba said private sector involvement is key to the restoration of Viphya Plantation.
He said with value addition, 500 hectares of trees can be used for over 10 years and this is sustainable.
“Everyone is worried that the plantation is depleted and there is not enough wood. As CPI, we sat down and said what do we do? The only way to go is value addition,” he said. n