Govt allows exports of raw timber produced in private plantations

Raw timber produced from private forest plantations can now be exported, U Zaw Min, deputy director general of the Department of Forestry, said last week.

The development comes after the Ministry of Resource and Environmental Conservation in April 2014 suspended the export of raw timber produced from natural forests.

There are a total 1.4 million acres of private forest plantations in Myanmar, consisting of teak, hardwood, rubber, palm and industrial crop plantations. However, more than 670,000 acres, or close to half of these plantations are dormant and have been confiscated by the State.

Raw timber produced from active private plantations will now be able to participate in exports, but those involved must still apply for official permission to do so.

“Firms must follow the official procedures to obtain permission to export. We will issue a notice if permission is granted. It is now harvest season for the plantations. But we can’t say yet when exports can start. We are trying to start exports soon,” said U Zaw Min.

Private forest plantations were allowed to form in 2006 under long term land leases with the State. Operators of these lands could plant a variety of teak, hardwood, rubber, palm and industrial crops within these plantations, up to a limit. A bidding process was also created for firms that wished to plant more than the given limit.

The private forests are located in natural forest lands which have been damaged and are no longer possible to maintain as natural forests. The private plantations were allowed with the purpose of developing private businesses in the sector, supporting the environment and conserving forest resources.

Local growers warn though, that the government should ensure local demand for raw timber is first met before allowing large quantities to be exported. “The logs permitted for export should be in controlled quantities as they are also needed locally,” said one private plantation owner who has over 10,000 acres of teak and hardwood plantations in Bago and Ayeyarwaddy Region.

Source : Myanmar Times

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