Processing and Marketing of Timber
Marketing is a necessary evil that carries its own implications. The timber market
is complex and inexperienced cooperatives are likely to make many costly mistakes if
they are not helped. It is important for cooperatives to share information about marketing
of logs and lumber. If one cooperative loses money dealing with a buyer, there is no
reason why another cooperative should have the same experience. FEHCAFOR and
EMCAH can be instrumental in documenting experiences of cooperatives and
distributing the information to other cooperatives.
Buying a sawmill and processing lumber adds even more risk and additional
concerns on top of logging. Appropriate technology is important, since many locations
are isolated or do not have electricity. Cooperatives considering a sawmill must carefully
evaluate the challenges and risks first. First, specific skills are required to operate and
manage a sawmill. Training may be necessary to avoid some of the growing pains
associated with learning these skills. Logistics can play an important role. The supply of
logs for the mill should be assured, or else the expensive sawmill will lie idle.
EMCAH can play a pivotal role in this kind of training or development. They
have experience in these areas in addition to the equipment. For groups that are
interested, EMCAH could bring a mill to the community and conduct training for
potential workers. If the cooperative members are in agreement, the group could then
proceed in purchasing a sawmill.