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More aggressive approach needed to survive

The younger generation of timber players must continually strive to develop innovative and sophisticated timber-based products in order to thrive in the market that has grown very competitive of late. Source: Timberbiz

Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, who gave this advice at the 9th Sarawak Forestry annual dinner, said their focus should not be limited to tropical woods but should include temperate woods also to meet demands in new markets, which clamored for sophisticated products.

This is the only way to successfully face the market, which had become stifling due to the emergence of new players such as Africa and Russia, he stressed.

However, Taib, who is also Sarawak Forestry Corporation chairman, believed timber players in the state could face future challenges head on due to the strong foundation laid down by the first generation of timber players.

“The people who are succeeding them (the first generation) will have to think more aggressively about competing in the market,” he said.

“We have to figure out how to invent better products using tropical species and temperate species of trees (for instance).”

Taib noted that some local players had already imported a lot of temperate woods to produce products that have much market demand.

“That is a very inventive way of surviving in this competitive world.”

On the supply of raw materials, he said to ensure its sustainability, all industry players must work closely with the State Government to realise the target of one million hectares of planted forest by 2020.

He said converting 20 per cent of natural forest areas to planted forest do have basis because “the yield from planted forest is three to five times more than those from indigenous forest.”

“I’m happy to know that we have planted 300,000 hectares of planted forest. I hope we can achieve our target of having one million hectares by 2020. This is not so difficult a task,” he said.