THREE leading hardware companies are now experiencing a shortage of plywood and it's not just affecting their customers and sales but timber and wood export to neighbouring Pacific island countries.
RC Manubhai and Company Limited director Jiten Patel said the shortage started at the beginning of last year.
"We are not just experiencing shortage of plywood but timber as well. This has been an ongoing problem and we are demanding an explanation from our suppliers," he said.
"There is very little movement in the construction of big projects, meaning it has been affecting the building industry as well."
Vinod Patel and Company Limited retail sales manager Narend Prasad shared similar sentiments, adding they wanted assurance from local suppliers on the availability of timber and wood.
"The demand is so high for plywood because it is one of the useful parts of the house. It is used for the construction of walls, ceilings and other areas," he said.
Local suppliers, he said, should stock up on supplies for emergency situations like the recent tropical cyclone.
Kasabias Limited purchasing manager Rati Lal said the lack of supply had persisted over the past five months. While he could not confirm how much the company stood to lose from the shortage, Mr Lal said the demand for plywood and timber continued daily.
"The demand is increasing every day because of the rehabilitation program in affected areas by Tropical Cyclone Evan," he said.
Local timber supplier, Fiji Forest Industries Limited, confirmed the shortage was because of the cyclone and floods last year.
"We have to follow the government's order to stop logging during cyclones and wet days," the company said.
"Secondly, the trees that provide the plywood are very scarce. We have to use pine and mahogany to substitute supply for the particular tree." The company said demand from the public and government for its post-cyclone rehabilitation program continued to grow. The company said its focus is to supply timber and wood to major distributors such as hardware stores. It maintains supply was slowly picking up.