Sarawak Timber And Forestry Master Plan Study Completed

KUCHING: Sarawak would have its Timber Industry Master Plan to chart the direction of its forestry and timber industry, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan today.

He said a consultant firm from Australia, Margules Groome had been engaged to do the study for the master plan, adding that the firm had completed its study and briefed him and the ministry officers at a meeting here today.

“A committee will be formed to look into their recommendations,” he told Bernama without revealing when the master plan would be ready for implementation.

Margules Groome is an independent consultant to the forestry, wood products, bio solutions, pulp and paper, as well as agriculture sectors based in Australia.

Earlier at a news conference, Awang Tengah who is the state’s Second Minister of Urban Development and Natural Resources, said the Sarawak Timber Master Plan would focus on planted forest as the main source of raw material to promote new investment in the new wood-based industry, production of high value-added products and advancement of the timber industry.

“It will also focus on adoption of advanced technology and automation in the timber industry in order to achieve a high recovery rate, high productivity, cost efficiency, enhanced competitiveness and research and development initiatives, and collaboration in planted forest implementation and in product development.

“The master plan will also focus on developing infrastructure and improving logistics to support the growth and development of high value-added products in the timber industry, enabling us to achieve timber products export earning of RM8 billion by the year 2030,” he added.

According to Awang Tengah, Sarawak’s timber industry export performance was expected to earn about RM3.7 billion in 2020, a decrease of 18 per cent from RM4.5 billion recorded last year, pointing out that this was mainly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to the current global economy.

He said the export value of logs and timber products for the period of January to October, 2020 dropped by 19 per cent to RM3.1 billion from RM3.8 billion in the same period last year and subsequently, the export volume of logs and timber products for January to October 2020 declined by 18 per cent to 2.2 million cubic metres from 2.6 million cubic metres during the same period last year.

Plywood is a major export of the total export value of Sarawak’s timber and timber products this year (52 per cent) with a value of RM1.6 billion, a drop of 16 per cent from RM1.9 billion recorded during the same period in 2019.