Evaluation of labour productivity in timber harvesting operations: A case study of Namwasa plantation, Mubende District
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Labour productivity is an important measure to gauge competiveness and efficiency particularly for firms in which the production process is relatively labour-intensive. In terms of labor productivity, previous studies focused on investigation of labor productivity trends over time at the industry-wide level. Systematic research has not been conducted to estimate such economic characteristics at the plantation level, yielding no consensus of labor productivity trends. This study is designed to evaluate the labour productivity in timber harvesting at Namwasa plantation. Its objectives are assessing the performance of labour in timber harvesting, examining the challenges to labour productivity and establishing ways to improve labour productivity at Namwasa plantation. For achieving this, a cross sectional study is conducted and data was collected using questionnaires, interviews, field observations and checklist as well as time studies for all the timber harvesting operations carried out at the plantation. Statistical analysis is used to compute the results. Labor productivity averaged 5.255m3/hr for cross cutting, sorting and grading, 5.214m3/hr for skidding, 5.107m3/hr for tree felling, 5.077m3/hr for de-branching and de-topping and 4.93m3/hr for transportation. Skills and education, tools and equipment, working conditions and training are the main factors influencing labour productivity. The major limitations to labour productivity are poor communication, delayed supply of tools and equipment, poor feeding and machine breakdowns. The results mainly suggest improved communication, improved feeding, motivation, provision and maintenance of tools to improve labor productivity. The study recommends that further studies on labour productivity should be carried out at Namwasa plantation to provide more baseline information in order to monitor productivity trends on the plantation.