The forestry sector comprises logging, saw-milling, wood products, pulp and paper as well as specialised cellulose for global markets. Pulp, paper and specialised cellulose are the main exports, along with sawn lumber, wood chips and wattle extract. The industry is ideal for recycling initiatives. The forestry products sector continues to contribute about 1% to national GDP, with the Far East, Europe and the UK making up its major export markets.

The export market for pulp and paper from South Africa remains strong and, buoyed by better margins, pulp production figures have been on the rise since 2007. Global paper giants Sappi, Mondi and SAFCOL have extensive plantations and mill operations in the province, which is home to Africa’s biggest integrated pulp and paper mill. Attractive opportunities exist for small-scale growers, contractors and saw millers, while forested areas also lend themselves to beekeeping and honey-making.

Mpumalanga’s forestry sector accounts for 12.3% of South Africa’s agricultural GDP.

Mpumalanga has the ideal climate and topography for forests, with South Africa’s biggest sawmill and largest panel and board plant.