10,000 hectares of land in Kanowit identified to plant fast-growing RT-Paulownia trees

Dr Rundi (third left) amd others at the TSG Research and Development Centre at Kota Samarahan on March 30, 2024.

By Wilfred Pilo

KUCHING, March 30: A total of 10,000 hectares of land in Kanowit had been identified for planting the fast-growing RT-Paulownia trees, says Minister of Food Industry, Commodity, and Regional Development Sarawak, Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom.

Dr Rundi said RT-Paulownia is a Paulownia tree species originating from China that can mature after three and a half years. He elaborated that although it was initially developed in West Malaysia, it still required continuous research here in Sarawak as it is not easy to plant.

“However, a species identified as RT-Paulownia could adapt here, but it needs to be conditioned first before it can be planted on a large scale.

“RT-Paulownia trees would be ideal for the State’s forestry management in the long-term sustainable development goal in our biomass and wood-based industry and also for forest planting if they could adapt here.

“So, because of these fast-growing characteristics, we see great potential for planting this tree species here,” he told reporters at the TGS Green Sdn Bhd RT-Paulownia Research and Development Centre at Kota Samarahan today.

Dr Rundi is optimistic about the potential future of investing in trees because of their fast-growing characteristics. Thus, it could be a win-win situation for investors in the wood-based industry of forest planting and its management.

He also said that interested investors must be willing and prepared to invest in this venture before commercialising in RT-Paulownia as it requires a significant investment.

“Before commercialisation in this venture, you have to calculate the risk and the investment despite the potential. But on the other hand, how many people dare to invest such huge money?” he asked.

At the same time, he also wants farmers to emulate TGS Green for their initiative in planting such trees through contract farming and learning from experts.

“I hope those who want to know about the tree can come to TGS Green to gain knowledge and expertise on how to culture the tree so that they can plant it themselves.

“All investors are welcome, and we will try to assist them with any businesses under the purview of our ministry,” he said.

Later, Dr Rundi visited the TSG laboratory at TSG Tower at Brighton Square in Jalan Song.

Deputy Minister for International Trade, Industry, and Investment Sarawak Datuk Malcolm Mussen Lamoh, FICORD permanent secretary Sirai Daha, Sarawak Agriculture director Dominic Chunggat, and TSG founder and group chief executive officer Dato Chris Chung Soon Nam were also present. — DayakDaily

Dr Rundi (standing, right) being briefed at the TSG laboratory at TSG Tower at Brighton Square in Jalan Song, Kuching, on March 30, 2024.