African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6688

Full Length Research Paper

Impacts of outsourcing forestry operations in the hyperinflationary economic environment of Zimbabwe

Chikuse L. J., Katsvanga C. A. T., Jimu L. and Mujuru L.*
Department of Environmental Science, Forestry Unit, Bindura University of Science Education, P. Bag 1020 Bindura, Zimbabwe.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 05 January 2011
  •  Published: 31 January 2012



Outsourcing forestry operations in a hyperinflationary environment has an impact on labour welfare, quality of work and the environment. The aim of this research was to determine how the current economic environment in Zimbabwe has impacted on the outsourcing of forestry operations. The study was carried out in the Penhalonga Commercial Forest Region (18.52S, 32.40E), north of the city of Mutare, in the eastern highlands of Zimbabwe. The research involved gathering historical data, interviews and direct observations of productivity. To evaluate the viability and sustainability of subcontracting forest operations, contractor productivity and machine availability were assessed as the outsourcing indicators. A comparison of production costs of saw-logs and silvicultural operations between contactors and the forest company harvesting teams were used to determine the effectiveness of outsourcing. Results indicated significant machine availability and productivity among contractors with little or no employee welfare for contractors. The combined volumes produced by contractors met company expectations, even though individual contractors do not meet the targets. Production costs increased every month for both contractors and the forest companies thus defeating the cause of cost cutting for the forest companies. In a hyperinflationary environment outsourcing forest operations can only be a bandage and not a long term solution.


Key words: Outsourcing, timber harvesting, sustainability, productivity, contractor, fixed period employees, permanent employees.