In Estonia, a total of 48% of land is covered by forests. According to Statistics Estonia, in 2011 the total felling was 8,153,000 m³, however the optimal amount is 12-15 million cubic meters per year. Therefore it is a business sphere with great potential.
The forest and wood industry has always been important for Võru County, considering the availability of local raw material. The forests in Võru County are ample and that business field offers many possibilities for success.
A total of 47% of Võru County is covered by forests. The most common types of trees are pine, spruce and birch. According to the Estonian Environment Agency 480,472 m³ of wood was cut in Võru County in 2012.
There is qualified workforce for the wood and furniture industry on-site. Most enterprises with the greatest impact on the development of the region are operating in the latter industry (AS Toftan, AS Antsla-Inno, AS Barrus, AS Wermo, and Anro PT OÜ).
Forestry in Võru County, 2003-2013
Source: Statistics Estonia
The second biggest sawmills in Estonia and the third biggest in the Baltic States belong to a Swedish owned company. They produce, for example, both pine and spruce lumber from which earthquake proof houses in Japan; houses, scaffolding and furniture in North-Africa; building constructions in Europe; window scantlings and door components; and glulam beams for buildings and bridges manufactured in Estonia, are made.
AS Toftan was founded in 1995, a year when a second hand piece of sawmilling equipment was brought from Toftan village in Middle Sweden to Sõmerpalu parish in South-Estonia and was set up into an old potato storage facility. As a result of investments and years of work the sawmill, initially producing 35,000m³ lumber in Sweden, has become a strong player in the sawmill industry. In 2012 the production output of lumber reached up to 200,000m³. The customers of AS Toftan are wood processing industries in Estonia and in 24 other countries all around the world.
There are 125 people employed and the turnover of 2013 was 42.5m euros, with a profit of 5.8m euros. A total of 53% of the sales came from export.
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