KUCHING (April 7): The government has allocated 500 million ringgit under Malaysia’s 12th plan for the Forest Plantation Development Program for the development of medium and large-scale commercial forest plantations through 2025, the deputy said. -minister of Plantations Industries and Commodities Datuk Willie Mongin.
He said last year that the program had only received 50 million ringgit and that it would work to form closer cooperation with the Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC) to develop forest plantations in the region. State.
“I hope that STIDC will greatly promote this program to state industry stakeholders and that the loans under the program will reduce the financial burden on stakeholders carrying out forest plantations in the state,” he said. he said at a press conference in Wisma Sumber Alam, Petra Jaya here. today.
Also present were STIDC Director General Hashim Bojet, STIDC Deputy Director General Haluyah Awi and STIDC Special Officer (Special Functions) Dayang Nena Abang Bruce.
Besides the program, Willie said there is also a community farming program approved under Malaysia’s 12th plan that primarily targets the poorest 40% group (B40) to plant forest crops of no more than four hectares. .
He said the government would provide an incentive worth RM 1,500 per hectare, including the provision of seedlings and fertilizer.
“However, I have discussed with STIDC that we need to clarify with the state forestry department to verify whether existing ordinances in the state allow such a community agriculture forest plantation program,” he said. .
Willie also said that a company or anchor agency should be appointed to coordinate all forest plantation activities in the state and to establish a supporting ecosystem, where there would be a ready market to buy the wood products. available in the state.
He said he was impressed with the Sarawak Designers Program, an avenue to encourage local talent to design furniture products that would meet the expectations of international buyers.
In addition, he pointed out that the state government aspired to export RM6 billion worth of home furnishings by 2030, against the meager RM47 million export value of last year, creating a ripple effect such as perhaps the creation of a furniture town and more job opportunities.
“Overall, the state government aims to export RM 8 billion worth of wood products by 2030, including RM 6 billion from the furniture industry and the rest of other wood products.” , Hashim said.
Dayang Nena meanwhile said there have been encouraging demands for state furniture products when they appear at international exhibitions in Dubai, India and Australia.
The other two potential markets the state plans to explore for its home furnishings are Europe and Singapore, she added.
“The national timber industry has always been export-oriented since the 1960s, with primary and secondary products constituting more than 80% of the state’s export revenues from the timber industry”, a- she declared.
For now, she said, the state’s furniture industry was still in its infancy and players in the industry were mostly dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) making furniture products. furnishings for local markets.
Either way, she said, with the timber industry transformation plan introduced five years ago, the industry had turned to high value-added products and existing factories. had been invited to modernize their machines.
Dayang Nena added that the state is considering restricting the export of sawn timber required by furniture makers and that Sarawak is the only state in the country that still produces solid timber, which could be used in the manufacture of timber products. high-end furnishings.