Building a profitable sawmilling business in the Ivory Coast

An LT15WIDE slicing through timber with a thin kerf narrow bandsaw blade. The blade wastes less timber with more timber to sell. Scierie Rama maintains its own blades to cut costs further.

Press Office: Wood-Mizer

Wood-Mizer sawmills are opening the doors for sawmilling businesses in the Ivory Coast to prosper, timber factories to start up, and for the country’s natural forests to be protected better.

The journey from Abidjan towards the nation’s capital Yamoussoukro in the north, starts on the Autoroute du Nord.

It’s a busy road that leads from the city centre through busy traffic, businesses and traders that are ready to sell goods so that families can eat and life can go on.

Just off the autoroute and near the Les Brasseries Ivorienne, lies Scierie Rama. Managed by mill manager Sila Baba, the sawmill opened its doors to the public in 2017.

“It’s a tough life to be a sawmiller in Ivory Coast,” says Sila Baba.

“It’s hard work to move the logs, and we have to obey all the rules of the Societe de Developpements des Forets (SODEFOR). They control the country’s forests and sawmilling sectors,” Sila Baba continues.

The Ivory Coast is one of several West African countries that have imposed increasingly stricter regulations to protect and restore the country’s forests and to encourage replanting.

The country now has some 430,000 hectares of commercial plantations that contribute to log exports from the Ivory Coast.

The country’s timber sector is made of veneer, plywood and round log production, and also has an active sawmilling sector that produces close to 872,000 m³ of sawn timber per year for local consumption.

In the past, the Ivory Coast’s focus on log exports made sawmilling and furniture manufacturing difficult. The renewed importance of producing round logs for domestic use, has reinvigorated the sawmilling sector and Scierie Rama to build profitable sawmilling businesses in the Ivory Coast.

Scierie Rama – working to support families

“We started this sawmill in 2017,” says Sila Baba.

“We started small, but we now have three Wood-Mizer LT15WIDE sawmills, that we use to cut the large diameter hardwood logs, that we get from SODEFOR, into sawn timber. We work closely with government on what sizes they want us to cut.

“The Wood-Mizer sawmills help us to produce good quality sawn timber that we sell to the market. The machines cut straight and we don’t waste timber. Our customers buy from us because they know our timber is accurate,” Sila Baba continues.

“We also have our own saw sharpening and setting equipment from Wood-Mizer that we use to maintain our blades. This helps us to save money and we don’t need to wait for sharp blades. This helps our production.

“We also use Wood-Mizer’s branch in Abidjan, that is managed by Solomon Opoku-Mensah, to get spares and new blades. Solomon is always at the shop to make sure that we get what we need. We now don’t have to wait to get replacements parts and blades. We can now work harder and make more money.

“Most importantly, Wood-Mizer allows me to put food on the table for my family. That is the main reason why we leave so early and come back home late with something to feed everyone,” Sila Baba says.

About Wood-Mizer in Ivory Coast

Wood-Mizer has a wide dealership network in West Africa.

Dealerships in Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Liberia and Senegal ensure that spares, blades, technical training and after sales support are available to sawmillers throughout the region.

After sales support is an important part of ensuring that sawmillers can grow sawmilling businesses in Africa.

The company’s dealership in West Africa allow sawmillers to focus on growing their businesses instead of worrying about support.

The Wood-Mizer product range provides for entry level, affordable sawmills through to heavy duty industrial capacity sawmills. This makes it possible to start and then grow the sawmill as the sawmiller can afford it.

Blade maintenance equipment cut costs further and sawmillers can sharpen and set their own blades instead of having to pay a supplier to do this.

The company also recently released a new range of machines for furniture manufacturing. The range is focussed on delivering affordable, durable manufacturing tools that sawmillers and manufacturers can use to rework sawn timber into finished product.

Wood-Mizer – from forest to final form