Ta Ann pledges collaboration in win-win forest policies

The Borneo Post

KUCHING: Ta Ann appreciates the Sarawak government’s initiatives in seeking input from stakeholders on the proposed forestry policies aimed at transforming the state’s forestry sector.

The group in a statement hoped that the view points and suggestions put across to the relevant government agencies in the recently concluded Timber Industry Stakeholders Consultation sessions will be carefully considered before the formulation of any new policies.

The timber industry is presently going through a challenging period, mainly due to rising production cost, emergence of substitute products and stiff competition from countries like Indonesia and Vietnam where the cost of production is much lower comparatively.

This negative impact is evident in the scaling down and the winding up of many timber processing facilities throughout the state.

The group will collaborate closely with the relevant government agencies through information sharing to facilitate a clearer understanding of its timber division particularly on the cost structure.

“The company views that a correct understanding of the timber industry, including the inter-relationship between upstream and downstream sectors as well as the ever evolving marketplace is important in the formation of win-win policies.

“High cost of production will wipe out profit margins and defeat the objective of spurring the development of the downstream sector and the timber industry as a whole,” it added in the statement.

A company spokesman also said: “Given the present scenario, additional cost burden will erode our competitive edge as buyers always have the option to switch to substitute products. Ramifications of misguided policies can be severe and irreversible as our hard earned market shares once lost, cannot be regained.”

Ta Ann is also committed to Sustainable Forest Management (SFM).

In response to the state government’s aspiration to have all timber concessions certified with the aim to enhance SFM in Sarawak, the group’s Kapit Forest Management Unit (FMU) had attained its MTCS PEFC SFM certification on June 11 last year.

Efforts are being carried out actively to have its three other FMUs certified by 2020.

“With respect to forest plantation, the group has embarked on research and development (R&D) programmes to produce improved tree planting materials such as Acacia Maugium Superbark.

“Such initiative is in line with the group’s plan to increase the utilisation of plantation resources. To date, the group has planted over 30,000 hectares of predominantly Acacia species,” the spokesman said.

Tan Ann issued the statement when responding to a news report quoting Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan that he expressed the hope that timber insdustry players will continue to work hard with the Sarawak government to strengthen forest management, enhance environmental protection and accelerate the development of timber-based industries to a higher level.

Awang Tengah said this at the closing of the Stakeholders Consultation on the Proposed Forestry Policies seminar at a leading hotel here on Wednesday.

He also assured the timber industry players that the Sarawak government will support them as they are “the goose that lays the golden egg.”