THE state’s export value of timber products continued to show an increase of 26 per cent to RM1.04 billion in the first quarter of 2022 against RM826 million for the same period last year.
“The timber industry has shown a recovery in terms of export value for 2021 compared to the previous year even though the country and the whole world are still facing the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
“This was driven by rising prices of major timber products such as plywood, logs, sawn timber and fibreboard,” said Second Natural Resources and Urban Development Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan in his ministerial winding-up speech today.
He stressed that the state’s timber export value increased to four per cent to RM3.9 billion in 2021 compared to RM3.7 billion in 2020.
On plywood, he said it contributed RM2.1 billion, which was 55 per cent of the total export value for 2021.
“The main market for Sarawak’s timber products was Japan which contributed RM2 billion or 53 per cent of the total export value for 2021.
“Japan remained the main importer of Sarawak timber products which accounted for RM616 million or 59 per cent of the total export value for the first quarter of 2022.
“Other major markets are India with RM119 million, the United States (RM61 million), the Middle East (RM44 million), Taiwan (RM43 million) and the Philippines (RM41 million).
“In terms of products, plywood showed an increase of 23 per cent in export value for the first quarter of 2022 to RM603 million compared to RM488 million for the first quarter of 2021,” said the minister.
He assured that state was committed to increasing the export value by encouraging the production of more high value-added products such as furniture and wood engineering products as well as intensifying research and development (R&D) efforts.
Awang Tengah hoped that the rate of increase could be maintained until the end of 2022 and beyond to ensure that the timber industry continued to contribute to the socio-economic development of Sarawak.
“Under the Post COVID-19 Development Strategy 2030 (PCDS 2030), the state is committed to increasing the export revenue of wood products to RM8 billion per year by 2030 by focusing on the production of high value-added products such as furniture, engineered wood and glulam and bamboo-based products, as well as intensifying R&D efforts.
“This target is in line with the projected growth potential in the world furniture market value.
“Hence, local industry players should take this opportunity to increase the production capacity of high value-added products such as furniture products, wood engineering and bamboo products.
“Industry players need to use existing technologies, namely by adapting to Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0) and digital technologies,” he said, stressing the use of technologies could also reduce dependence on the recruitment of foreign labour which also contributed to high production costs and less competitive.
“In addition, the state through the relevant agencies will continue to assist the industry in providing the necessary infrastructure facilities such as laboratories, industrial sites like a furniture park in Demak Laut and Tanjung Manis as well as conduct research and product development collaborations with local institutions of higher learning,” he said.