CM tells forestry firms to create value-added products for end-users

Abang Johari (third left) checks out a robotic equipment. Also seen are Hamden (second right) and Awang Tengah (third right).

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MIRI, Nov 4: The forestry-based industry players can look into developing decorative products and gifts out of planted timbers so as to add value to products, diversify the end products and optimise the whole value chain.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg emphasised that the industry players should not just focus on traditional products such as plywood and furniture.

“There is no point in having a good plantation without clear end products that could be developed out of the planted timbers.

“I would like to urge the industries together with government agencies like Forest Department and STIDC (Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation) and local universities to intensify R&D on product diversification,” he said when officiating the opening of the Industrial Forest Plantation Seminar held at a hotel here today.For the past years, Abang Johari shared that various testings had been conducted on planted timbers like acacia, batai, eucalyptus and many others, either on its properties or the end products, that could be developed out of planted timbers.

“For owners of timber mills, it is about time to retool for the smaller fast-grown plantation logs and to add value to the timber harvested.

“Please explore the new technology for better utilisation and diversification of timber products,” he urged.

Another aspect that could be explored through research and development (R&D), Abang Johari pointed out is the planting of fast-growing indigenous trees such as Geronggang, Tebulan, Engkabang Jantong and others.

“Besides planting tree species, planting of non-timber forest products (NTFP) such as bamboo and rattan could also be looked at,” he added.

Stressing that a good plantation is inadequate without looking into the whole value chain, he emphasised that focus should also be put into marketing and promotion of the timber and timber products so as to gain profit from the industry.

“For this, an agency like STIDC plays a crucial role to facilitate the industrial forest industry in promoting and marketing of planted timber products.

“I know in the situation that we are facing now, it is not possible to organise physical trade missions, but we have other platforms such as online to promote and market our products. We just have to be creative and innovative in leveraging on digital technologies (including augmented reality or AR),” he said.

To further enhance the development of industrial forest and meet the increasing needs of raw materials, Abang Johari pointed out that other degraded areas in the state could be identified for planted forest development.

“These could include abandoned/idle land, shifting agriculture areas or even NCR (Native Customary Rights) land that could be developed in a joint venture with landowners and local communities,” he said.

Themed ‘Advancing Sustainable Forestry through Aggressive Industrial Forest Plantation’, the two-days hybrid seminar via online Zoom conferencing or physical attendance will see the presentation of 19 papers covering topics under ‘Current Development in International Forest Plantation’, ‘Current Development of Research and Development in Sarawak Plantation’, ‘Community, Technology and Certification’ and ‘Other Potential Industrial Tree Species’.

>Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, Assistant Minister of Urban Development and Resources Datu Len Talif Salleh, Minister of Transport Datuk Lee Kim Shin, Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Sebastian Ting and Forest director Datu Hamden Mohammad were among those present.— DayakDaily