Laura Lopez | Segovia (EFE).- The new president of the Confederation of Timber Entrepreneurs of Castilla y León (CEMCAL), Silvia García, has among her main challenges that of urgently promoting training and interest in this industry among the youngest to alleviate the great problem of the lack of generational relief.
“Carpenters are going to be a luxury, they are going to be able to do what they want, charge what they want, because there is none,” said the owner of the carpentry and joinery services company Maderas García de la Cruz, based in Espirdo (Segovia).
She inherited the business from her father after it passed from generation to generation since her great-grandfather founded it a hundred years ago, as is the case in many companies in the sector such as sawmills and carpentry, and in trades such as loggers or “chainsawers”.
“Increasingly the children have more studies, they prepare more and go outside the towns to Madrid or Valladolid and we are running out of people who want to continue with these jobs”, has analyzed the businesswoman, who recognizes that it is trades ” hard” but like practically any other today.
They miss any profile of the professionals involved “from the time the wood is removed from the forest to the final product”: “We need professionalized people and we need it now,” he insisted.
From the sector they understand this problem as an opportunity linked to the demographic challenge, which the territory faces due to its “rural character” and its ability to establish a population: close to 50 percent of the industry in the community is located in towns with fewer of 2,000 inhabitants.
This is a great challenge in a fundamental sector in Castilla y León, the second autonomous community in wood production -only behind Galicia- and the one with the largest certified forest area in Spain, with almost 727,400 hectares of forest (33 percent). percent of the national total).
With almost 2,000 companies, 11,000 direct jobs and a turnover of 1,100 million euros, the sector is now experiencing difficulties common to the entire industry, such as the “disproportionate” increase in fuel prices, production costs and energy.
“It is very difficult to pass on 100 percent of these increases to the final prices and that is why in some cases profitability is reduced and, in others, the continuity of the companies is even endangered,” said the representative of the businessmen. .
However, those who operate in the world of wood are confident that it will “recover” and that it has “a great future” because it is a material that is produced in rural areas, is “ecological” and offers a lot of versatility.
It has shown this in recent years with the production of “pellets”, which for many have been a good alternative to the rise in the price of electricity and diesel, although its price has also increased, or with the growing demand for pallets. , fruit of the rise of electronic commerce.
García has also detected an increasingly strong trend towards the revaluation of handcrafted furniture and quality wood, although for this the problem of inflation for families must be solved because, if they lose purchasing value, “the last thing they buy they are the furniture”.
This businesswoman has also shown hope with a recent change in public opinion about the industry, which has often had a bad reputation but, in her opinion, carries out a vital task of cleaning the mountains, with a sustainable use of the resources that is increasingly recognized.
“We have been extracting wood for a hundred years and always with forest management, we have not gone in and destroyed what we wanted, the pine trees that have to be cut are cut down, they are cleaning the forest. We are the ones who respect and love the mountain the most because for us it is essential”, Silvia García defended.
This task is crucial to avoid or minimize the impact of fires such as those that occurred last year in Castilla y León, which were especially painful for this sector due to the evident loss of value of the wood when it is collected, but not only for that reason.
Silvia García is from Navafría (Segovia), where a thousand hectares burned last July: “It gives you a desert feeling; For me, since I was a child I have been seeing how the pines grew, now seeing everything destroyed… the feeling is painful, ”she recounted this Segovian woman, who still gets emotional when remembering it. EFE