Timsales is a wood-based industrial complex which manufactures plywoods, fibreboards, block boards, flush doors and timber. Timsales range of products are not only used locally but are also exported to neighbouring countries. With great integration between different production activities of the firm, nothing is wasted since the waste from one unit is used in the next unit and the effluent is recycled.

Timsales can trace its begining to the great depression of 1929 – 1932. Like most commercial and private enterprises in Kenya, the Timber Industry fell into doldrums.

In 1932, 7 saw millers of different races met together to form a producers cooperative and pooled their marketing efforts and resources in a move directly aimed at reviving the industry. The venture formed was known as the East African Timber Cooperative Society Limited which later changed its name to TIMSALES LTD.

Immediately after the incorporation of the cooperative, Timsales opened its first yard in Kitale. The Head Office and another yard were opened on Sadler Street which is the present known Koinange Street in Nairobi. By 1939, considerable progress had been made and Timsales pricelists and standards were adopted as a standard of reference by all saw millers.


In 1952, Timsales introduced celcure process whereby sawn timber is chemically treated by vacuum and pressure, making it highly resistant to attack by insects and fungi. This greatly prolongs the life of the timber.

In 1967, Timsales, under its subsidiary Sokoro Plywood, established Kenya’s first Plywood Factory in Elburgon. After 5 Years, Timsales Ltd. incorporated a subsidiary Sokoro Fibre Boards to manufacture hardboards at Elburgon.

Today, nearly 70 Years since its inception, Timsales is one of the largest timber companies in Kenya with its Head Office in Elburgon. Other branches are in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Nakuru. Timsales today, has a workforce of 1500 and supports approximately 6000 family members.

Re-afforestation has been found to be the only remedial measure that will reduce the rate of desertification. Similar programmes have succeeded in many parts of the world where, deforestation had spelt doom to the ecosystem. Kenya is one of the many countries that has fallen victim to deforestation. The Government is encouraging re-afforestation in many areas particularly water catchment areas.This will enhance chances of preserving forests, both indigenous and manmade. The preservation of the natural forests has been made a major campaign by various NGOs,the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Natural Resources.

Where are we involved? 

Timsales limited is one of the few companies in the country that is assisting the government with this programme. 

We have concentrated our afforestation programmes in Nakuru district and are out to ensure the district once again becomes a major forest region in the country. Having established our own tree nursery at our head office in Elburgon we are mainly raising pine and cypress seedlings for the establishment of industrial plantations. These indigenous plant seedlings are meant for river banks and other water catchment areas. This vigorous campaign against the reckless deforestation and rational use of the forest products has contributed to Timsales being one of the most successful timber companies in the country. The afforestation programme also enjoys the support of Kenya Forestry Research Institute (Kefri).The research institution provides tree seeds for the programme. 

Exotic plantations take about 30 years to mature and this year, Timsales Limited planted over 300,000 seedlings on 200 hectares of land in Molo Forest area between April and May. Molo Forest is the source of the Molo River, which ends up in Lake Bogoria, about 100 kilometres away. The planting exercise is normally done during rainy seasons to ensure a good survival rate.“Our efforts are at times hampered by unfavourable weather conditions,” which the Timsales Limited Operations Manager, Mr. Walter Ogada says has sometimes caused them losses. Ogada says they only plant the seedlings in the government forests with a stretch of about 100 metres wide of indigenous forests along the river banks on each side is always preserved while undertaking exotic plantation establishment programmes.                                                                                                                                                                   

      Working with the Goverment and the local community 

In the same forests, peasant farmers will be allowed to grow subsistence crops like maize, beans and potatoes in an arrangement known as Shamba System. The food crop farming in each plantation unit ends when the planted trees are about four years old. Ogada says their efforts are being undertaken in collaboration with the Nakuru District and Rift Valley Provincial Forests Officers who offer the necessary guidance.“Our work is done in collaboration with government forests officers who are mandated on managing the government forests for environmental protection and industrial wood production,” Ogada pointed out.The company has employed skilled staff who patrol and safeguard the safety growth of these seedlings after planting. He says they have undertaken the task of educating local farmers on the need to protect the young seedlings.In May 2003, the education measures were finalized at a baraza convened by the District Forest Officer, Elijah Kitum. The farmers learnt the importance of protecting trees and the environment in general.

 Future Plans Next year, Ogada said they expect to cover slightly over 500 hectares translating into more than a million seedlings to cost them over Ksh 4 million. This will also ensure the employment of additional 500 workers. They have already enlisted the services of 50 workers in their tree nurseries in support of the re-afforestation programme. The government also offers the company technical support and advice for the programme.

The vigorous re-afforestation programme supported by Timsales Limited will ensure that the forest has a continued existence for many years to come. The depleted forest areas are now replenished on a sustained basis. The firm’s re-afforestation rate is much higher than the rate of deforestation, aiding in achieving the firm’s objectives in conservation.

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