Innovative R&D initiatives needed in timber industry


KUALA LUMPUR: To achieve the RM53 billion target by 2020 under the National Timber Industry Policy, innovative research and development (R&D) initiatives have to be intensified, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas said Monday.

The change is focused on achieving 60 per cent of the export earnings from downstream products with the remaining 40 per cent coming from primary processing activities, he said.

Uggah said the Malaysian timber-based industry needed to urgently review its modus operandi to introduce products of higher value.

He said through innovations, the industry could come up with new designs and more renewable resources while fulfilling more stringent consumer requirements to remain competitive in the international market.

“The Malaysian timber-based industry since the last few decades has been one of the major revenue contributors to the country’s economy,” the minister told reporters after the opening of International Symposium on Forestry and Forest Products 2010 here.

Timber products in Malaysia are still contributing about RM19.5 billion total export value and the industry has provided employment for 300,000 workers, he said.

Uggah said that industry players must be quick to respond to the changing global concerns and in addressing domestic constraints, failing which they may lose their market.

“There is a need to increase value addition to the products chain in order to sustain the income and contribution of this sector to the national economy,” he said. — Bernama