Mondi Zimele's emerging timber grower programme

March 14, 2023
Phillip Mpangela (right) has been growing trees in KwaMbonambi for 25 years. He is joined by Muzi Sibiya of Khulanathi Forestry, who assists him with timber orders as well as procuring timber transport to the Mondi Mill in Richards Bay.

Mondi Zimele's Forestry Partners Programme is a project that offers multi-faceted support to emerging timber growers in northern KwaZulu-Natal. The project hinges on the distribution of high-quality eucalyptus seedlings, the provision of technical support and guidance on the ground and connecting small growers to the market once their timber is harvested.

Through its agents on the ground - Khulanathi and Awethu Forestry - Mondi Zimele distributes an impressive 500 000 plants a year and engages with 3 600 emerging growers. The implementing agents coordinate the transport and delivery of between 10 and 20 000 tonnes of timber from these small growers to the Mondi Richards Bay Mill every month, proving to be an important source of available fibre for the mill. The project has generated R803 million in revenue and is a key pillar of economic development in a region where jobs and opportunities are scarce.

This film features some of the small growers involved, shining a light on their unique stories and experiences, which are intrinsically connected to the land, the trees and the passing seasons that characterize life in Zululand, in the north-eastern corner of South Africa.

Story pics and video by Samora Chapman / Green Forest Films.

Check out the full version of the film here: Mondi Zimele - emerging timber grower programme (long version)

Read the latest feature story in our small-grower series: Once a chainsaw operator – now a grower

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