Govt sets target for current fiscal year’s timber sales

The government has set a target of earning US$129 million (K192.9 billion) from the combined sales of teak and hardwood for the current fiscal year, says U Khin Mung Kyi, deputy general manager of Myanma Timber Enterprise (MTE).

The target figure was due to lower income and reduced timber production in the previous fiscal year, U Khin Mung Kyi said.

To conserve timber resources in Myanmar, the government stopped exporting logs in 2014 and shifted to selling logs via tenders locally.

For this fiscal year, MTE is expected to produce 10,000 tonnes of teak and 285,000 tonnes of hardwood. Out of 10,000 tonnes of teak, 5000 tonnes will be from natural teak foresst and the other 5000 tonnes from 30-year-old teak plantation, according to the MTE.

Some 10,000 tonnes of teak and 150,000 tonnes of hardwood will be sold and exported through open tenders. Of the rest of the hardwood, 30,000 tonnes will be sold to 11 local timber factories, and 105,000 tonnes will be sold on the local market, said U Khin Maung Kyi.

For the 2018-19 fiscal year which ended September 30, the country generated US$125 million from timber exports while local sales generated K113.5 billion.

Expectations for 2019-20 are US$79.8 million for exports and K75.2 billion for local sales.

“We have decreased timber cutting this year. The last year’s revenue was high as other receivables in the past were received in addition to the regular exports,” he said.

After whole log exports were stopped, revenue from timber declined. Because of excessive logging in the past, Myanmar has suffered deforestation. To overcome this, theovernment stopped whole-log exports on April 1st, 2014 and also reduced timber production.

According to MTE figures, 300,000 cubic tonnes of teak and 1.2 million cubic tonnes of hardwood were produced in 2013-2014, 100,000 cubic tonnes of teak and 600,000 cubic tonnes of hardwood in 2014-2015, and 70,000 cubic tonnes of teak and 600,000 cubic tonnes of hardwood were produced in 2015-2016.

The figures have been steadily declining and the figures for 2017-18 were 10,000 cubic tonnes and 200,000 tonnes, respectively.

According to an environmental assessment report on Myanmar released by the World Bank in June 2019, Myanmar lost 10 million hectares of forest between 1990 and 2015, and ranked as the country with the third-highest rate of deforestation between 2010 and 2015 in the world.

The report also states that illegal logging and corruptions still prevail in the country.

Although the export of whole logs from teak plantations and natural teak forests of the country has been suspended, exports of whole logs and hardwood from private plantations are permitted, according to the statement released by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation.

Source: Myanmar Times

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