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Wood production firm invests Rwf4bn in Rwandan operations

Sawmill East Africa Ltd, involved in the production of high-quality wood for carpenters and construction companies, says they have since invested about Rwf4 billion in Rwanda.

The firm, which entered the local market in 2018, said that the investment has gone into setting up the biggest dry Wood Park in the country.

The investments, they say, went not only into acquisition of the most modern equipment and factory setup but also into financing environmental friendly approaches and recruitment.

The firm’s chief executive, Agnis Magelinskas, said that the investment was guided by goals of the firm in its areas of focus, including environmental protection, community, creating well-being, and quality.

The firm has since expanded its staff size to 400 employees across the country.

“SEAL believes that in order to preserve and conserve forests, it is not only important to replant trees–it is also crucial to know how to properly and safely cut them. The trees used in SEAL’s timber production are always cut by strictly following all the necessary and Rwandan government requirements, as well as simultaneously conserving the Rwandan woodland and consciously contributing to the initiative of its preservation,” he said.

To ensure compliance with environmental standards, the firm said that they are working with the Ministry of Environment and have since agreed on a forestry management plan.

“SEAL itself has built a tree nursery, and in the first months of this year alone planted 0. 5million trees. It is planned that by 2020 SEAL will have planted over 2 million trees,” Magelinskas said.

Magelinskas said that establishing a socially responsible company in a year has been quite a task but cooperation with partners has enabled the progress.

Sawmill East Africa signed an agreement with the Government to harvest and manage four state forests in a deal aimed at adding value to the forestry sector, promote exports and help reduce the country’s import bill.

The firm has the right to manage, exploit and replant four forests in southern part of the country in Rusizi, Muhanga and Huye districts.

It has launched its initial operations in Muhanga for the first phase of operations.

The firm is investing in innovative technologies, such as wood drying kiln machines, natural chemicals for preservations, among other things.

Rwanda seeks to achieve covering 30 per cent of the total surface area by 2020.

The Government, in 2016, estimated that forest cover was around 29 per cent, from 25.9 per cent in 2010.