The Ministry of Forestry will scale back logging and ban the export of raw teak and hardwood from 2014 in a bid to increase exports of higher-earning finished products, the Ministry of Forestry announced late last month.
“In the past, we couldn’t export finished products for various reasons. But now we will try to export [finished] products and we will halt logs exports. That’s a serious aim we will carry out in the future,” Minister for Environmental Conservation and Forestry U Win Tun said at a recent planning meeting.
Under the ministry’s Annual Allowable Cut framework, production of teak will decline by 15 percent in the 2012-13 financial year, while hardwood will fall by 20pc.
However, this reduction is higher in some areas, such as the Bago Yoma, where hardwood production will fall 30pc and teak 70pc this financial year.
While the ministry did not provide export figures, it said teak production also fell 15pc in 2011-12, while hardwood production fell 20pc. Weekly Eleven reported recently that the country exported 371,000 metric tonnes of teak and 1.789 million metric tonnes of hardwood in 2011-12.
According to the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, earnings from teak log exports for the year were almost US$284 million, while hardwood logs earned about $273 million.
U Win Tun said at the National Level Meeting for Development of Forestry Sector in Nay Pyi Taw on October 24 that the reduced production would mean the “future of Myanmar’s forests will be significantly improved”.
He said there would still be enough timber extracted to meet domestic demand and the easing of sanctions against Myanmar would be a positive for the industry.
He added that the ban on exports would create “many job opportunities” because the buyers of exported logs will be encouraged to invest in production facilities inside Myanmar.
Foreign businesses will bring expertise and capital, he said.
“There will be much more competition in the forestry sector,” U Win Tun said at the meeting. “It is sure that we will gain visible profits when we start banning log exports.”