We have identified investment in low-cost wood as both a growth driver and a strategic resource in order to supply our operations and to secure our margins in competitive commodity markets, such as dissolving pulp (DP). To this end, we continue to work with local government and communities to accelerate afforestation in KwaZulu-Natal and the northern region of the Eastern Cape. This development not only provides one of the only sources of income and jobs to these local communities but will also secure valuable hardwood timber resources close to our Saiccor Mill in KwaZulu-Natal.
In addition to Sappi’s own plantation area, we continue to identify ways to ensure access to pulpwood in the wood baskets close to our key operations, by means of land or timber delivery swaps.
The plantation industry in South Africa faces an increasing threat from pests and diseases. Sappi Forests, a leader in research and development (R&D), continues to mitigate these risks through improved site species matching, the deployment of improved genetic planting stock and the introduction of specific hybrids from our conventional breeding programmes.
The state of the art Clan Nursery, with a capacity of 17 million cuttings (vegetatively propagated plants), and the Ngodwana Nursery, provides Sappi Forests with the required facilities to rapidly deploy the improved genetic planting stock to mitigate these threats.