After many years of patiently planting trees, we are very excited to have started harvesting. The first stage of harvesting is thinning -- cutting the smallest and lowest-quality trees from a farm to reduce competition on the highest-quality trees, allowing them to grow even bigger.
First, Komaza's team of trained markers measure each tree's diameter, straightness and quality for product merchandising -- classifying every tree on a farm for its likely end products, and marking those to be removed in the first thinning. On average, 30-40% of trees are marked for removal. Then Komaza's experienced felling team arrives with chainsaws and protective equipment to safely cut down trees, remove any branches, and -- based on market demand -- cut trees to desired lengths. We contract local laborers to carry logs from within farms to a pile where a truck can collect them, which then transport the wood to Komaza's log yard in Kilifi for sorting, stacking, drying and sale.
Many forestry companies around the world must "thin to waste," letting small trees rot in the forest or selling them as low-value biomass. We are fortunate that East Africa presents a booming market for small-diameter roundwood as fencing posts and building poles. Both large-scale game reserves and countless small-scale residential properties are erecting fences to demarcate boundaries and keep out unwanted animals or visitors. An ever-growing number of hotels, restaurants, houses, and millions of mud huts utilize wooden building poles for timber framing and roofing rafters. Komaza targets these growing markets with our early thinnings, selling raw trees or debarked logs cut to length, and will soon be offering wood treatment to extend each product's lifespan to 25-50 years.