TANAH MERAH, March 13 — The government has allocated RM500 million for phase two of the Forest Plantation Development Programme 2021-2025 for entrepreneurs who are interested in venturing into the industry.
Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB) director-general Mahpar Atan said during the first phase of the programme from 2017 to 2021, a total of RM940 million had been allocated to 87 entrepreneurs who developed 129,000 hectares of forest plantation land.
“For phase two, we have received applications from entrepreneurs and they are in the approval process.
“The allocation is for soft loans to entrepreneurs, and they do not have to repay the loan within 15 years as long as there is no harvesting,” he told reporters after the opening ceremony of the Paulownia Huu Haq Resources Sdn Bhd plantation project at the Sokor Taku Forest Reserve here today.
Also present at the event was Huu Haq Resources chairman Wan Rahmat Marzuki Wan Isa.
Mahpar said a total of 13 species of fast-growing trees such as paulownia, bamboo, rubber and teak were approved in the forest plantation development programme.
“The aim of this programme is to reduce the dependence of the country’s timber industry on natural forests, to ensure the development of the industry, and that sustainable timber resources in the future are derived from these forest plantations,” he said.
Meanwhile, Wan Rahmat said his team has been working on the paulownia forest plantation since 2019 involving an area of 202 hectares.
“In China and Japan, there is a high demand for paulownia to make furniture and decorative items while other countries seek it for their boat and marine construction industry.
“We hope that with the government’s support, the paulownia tree industry will be able to contribute to the country’s economy,” he added. — Bernama