KUALA LUMPUR, June 5 (Bernama) -- The increased usage of oil palm canreduce the world's dependence on forest-based timber and fibre, more sogiven the existing potential to convert oil palm biomass into alternativefibre materials, Primary Industries Minister Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaiksaid.
He said that oil palm forests have come to be recognised as no different,or better than natural forests in terms of its capacity to sequestergreenhouse gases especially carbon dioxide.
"As an effective carbon sink, oil palm is making positive contributions toavert global warming, which is another growing environmental concern," hesaid in his speech at a dialogue session in Stockholm, Sweden.
The text of his speech was released here Thursday. The dialogue sessionwas part of Dr Lim's programme in Sweden where he is heading a Malaysiandelegation, comprising senior officials of the Ministry of PrimaryIndustries, representatives from the Malaysian Timber Industry Board,Forest Research Institute, Forestry Departments, Malaysian Timber Council,Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC) and Malaysian Palm OilPromotion Council.
The main aim of the mission was to provide information on forestmanagement in Malaysia with particular reference to sustainable forestmanagement, to introduce MTCC timber certification scheme and to discussrelated matters affecting timber trade with Sweden.
Dr Lim said the Malaysian government has introduced a timber certificationscheme operated by MTCC, which is expected to contribute to Malaysia'sefforts in achieving sustainable forest management.
"Therefore, we hope that the adoption of the phased approach, will besupported by the timber trade and other related bodies in Sweden throughthe acceptance of the MTCC-certified timber products in the Swedishmarket," he said.
More importantly, importers and buyers of the MTCC-certified productsshould be willing to offer better prices for those products in order tooffset the higher production cost incurred by the producer country, headded.
Dr Lim noted that Sweden has been a growing market for Malaysian furnitureand joinery products.
In 2002, total timber exports from Malaysia to this market amounted toRM36.6 million or US$9.6 million.
The amount was a slight drop of one percent from the RM37 million (US$9.7million) exported in 2001.
Furniture exports alone came to US$7.3 million, accounting for 75 percentof the total exports.
Export of joinery products also witnessed stronger growth and by 2002,exports of the product reached US$1.7 million (RM6.46 million).
Besides exporting, Malaysia also imports an increasing amount of furniturefrom Sweden.
In 2002, imports of furniture from Sweden totalled RM18 million or US$4.7million, almost double from the US$2.5 million (RM9.5 million) imported inthe previous year.