Timber to remain state’s main earner

KUCHING: The timber industry will continue to be a mainstay of the state’s economy in the years to come as it remains a vital revenue earner to the state.

This was emphasised by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg when officiating at the fourth edition of Sarawak Timber SMEs Expo at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK), yesterday.

“Export of timber and timber products is the fourth largest contributor to the state’s export earnings after liquefied natural gas (LNG), petroleum and palm oil. In 2018, the export value of timber and timber products was RM5.4 billion,” he pointed out.

On the industry’s future direction, Abang Johari firstly noted that log production from natural forest is declining. Thus, the future direction is the utilisation of more alternative raw materials from planted forest.

“The industry therefore, would need to undertake the retooling and re-engineering process within their mills and timber operations.

This is in line with the changes on the type of raw materials available in the future such as timber from planted forest which has different physical characteristics from that of the natural forest.

“The future direction of the timber industry is to explore bamboo, planted trees, rubber and many others. All these can be achieved with the support of the industry players towards the implementation of appropriate sustainable industry structure framework and aggressive on research and development (R&D) initiatives to produce high value-added products.”

The state government has embarked on industrial forest since 1998 by issuing Licence for Planted Forest (LPF). The objective is to reduce pressure over natural forest and to ensure sustainable supply of raw material to the timber industry. These LPF licensees concerned will also help to intensify the effort to accomplish the state government’s new target of achieving 1 million hectares of planted forest by the year 2025.

(Taken from Sarawak Tribune)

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