ENCOURAGING woodwork in schools can support Government’s initiatives to promote value addition of wood processing, says Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) chief executive officer Maybin Nsupila.
Mr Nsupila said in an interview that upgrading skills in woodwork in schools and higher learning institutions would support Government’s policies to develop the sector.
“When you look at schools today, very few are doing or have woodwork curriculum even at a higher level.
“People in carpentry are very few, there is a lot that needs to be done to upgrade such skills and infrastructure to support the development of wood processing,” he said.
He said there was currently huge investment in the wood industry which needed upgraded skills to match the investment.
“Currently there is huge investment in the wood industry; you can see one along Great North Road, there is a very big factory for wood processing that is coming up.
“There are few others along Mungwi Road and at Levy Mall there is a shop with good quality wood products,’’ he said.
Mr Nsupila explained that it became a challenge setting up a wood processing factory without local people with upgraded skills.
“The challenge is that you set up a factory and then you have a challenge of having people to work with.
“Alongside giving such incentives, it would be important to match that with building skills to support the investment,” he said.
He said the association would like to see support in development of skills as a way of facilitating investment in the wood processing industry.
Government in its 2016 national budget announced that it had introduced an export duty on unprocessed wood at 40 per cent and 20 per cent for semi-processed wood to encourage local value addition.