By Jimmy NSENGIMANA
From 17th to 23rd February 2020, IPRC KITABI through the department of Forestry and the directorate of research, consultancy and production hosted a training titled Timber drying and storage technics in partnership with Rwanda Wood Value Chain Association and Private Sector Federation (PSF).
On its first cohort, the timber drying (or Wood Seasoning) and storage technics training was attended by 17 heads among 20 proposed who are daily involved in management tasks of wood works where 20% were females and 80% males, all from various companies and cooperatives that are members of Rwanda Wood Value Chain Association.
The overall objective was to improve the quality of wood used for industrial purpose for RWVCA members and to impart the trainees with operational knowledge and understanding of appropriated practices of drying wood and storing timber in order to have quality wood and timbers.
The training was officiated by the Ag. Director of Academic Services, Mr. Laurent NIYONZIMA. In his opening remarks, Mr. Laurent said: “Welcome to IPRC KITABI, feel free to anybody who is involved in this training. We hope you did enjoy the climate of Nyungwe National park which is helpful to the studies. On behalf of the college’s management, I wish you a fruitful training.”
Laurent kept explaining all about the Government of Rwanda’s target of enhancing sustainable forestry resources management where trainees will contribute a lot once they are equipped with knowledge and skills to develop the field.
After the opening remarks, all trainees and trainers were introduced one another and in order to assess the gap of knowledge and skills to be covered throughout the training, all trainees were asked to share with the team all their expectations from the training and their responses were noted to give the way to the trainers while delivering both theoretical and practical training sessions which finally incited some changes on the planned delivery ways and that was helpful to the trainees.
It was a six day participative and active courses where two first days covered theory. This part involved trainers’ lecturing, group discussions and presentations, evaluation works and experience sharing. The theory covered six modules: Harvesting and drying overview and strategy, Timber protection in storage, Storing techniques, Stored timber treatment, Green mill operation and Lumber handling and storage.
The four following days were for field visits in different wood related work operating companies with different derivable levels in order to confer the trainees with the capabilities of analyzing the gaps in the industry and how to address them from the learned experience.
The trainees were fitted with knowledge, skills and attitude on testing moisture content in timber yards, implement the right way to dry timber to minimize defects, protect lumber against damages in storage and applytreatment techniques for preventing insect and fungi.
It is hoped that the capacity building through training in timber seasoning and storage techniques will improve wood value chain and accessibility in Rwanda. The trainees are expected to improve the quality product of their working industries which in turn will result to the improvement of their wellbeing.
The forestry sector is playing multiple key roles in supporting the livelihood of all Rwandans as the forest is a major resource providing multiple functions supporting the contribution to national socio-economic development. Wood-based industry and wood products plays significant role in promoting economic growth and development by way of creating income and employment opportunities to forestry development and especially to rural areas.
In Rwanda, the wood-based industry and wood products sector have not been growing as required to produce high quality products and to venture in competitive market of exporting. Every year Rwanda spends a huge amount on importing wood products, even though we have ‘Made in Rwanda’ forest resources here to utilise.
Rwandan building and furniture industry and renewable energy will depend on knowledge and technical skills of wood industry workers in wood value addition if it has to grow and become an exporter of value added products.
Well trained and qualified trainers constitute a precondition for the provision of a quality and relevant training with competent trainees at the labour market as an end result.
Rwanda’s ambition is to become a knowledge based and technology led economy and this underlines the need to generate, disseminate and acquire scientific skills as well as technological innovations, in addition to integrating them into social and economic development. Human resource development has been identified as one of the six pillars of Vision 2020 and starts with the provision of quality training.