SERDANG: The Government wants to push for a wider use of palm wood in the production of local furniture to overcome a shortage in raw materials faced by domestic furniture manufacturers.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui said the use of palm wood would help the country overcome a deficit of 3.85 million cu m of wood and strengthen its zero-waste policy.
“We should make use of our palm trunks so that we won’t have to count on imports to cover for the deficit,” he told a press conference in conjunction with the opening of Export Furniture Exhibition 2009 here yesterday.
The ministry has made a conservative estimate that one million palm trunks can be used for furniture production each year from the two million to three million palm trunks available.
“It will be a big help to our local furniture industry,” Chin said.
Currently, rubberwood furniture makes up about 80% of the local furniture industry’s production.
The ministry aimed to substitute 20% of the industry’s rubberwood furniture with palmwood furniture, but that would depend on the response from the public and manufacturers, Chin said.
He also said his ministry had proposed some incentives for the furniture industry in the upcoming mini-budget to be announced on March 10.
“We hope the stimulus package will bring some cheer.
“We have made several proposals to the Finance Ministry that include the implementation of export incentives, rationalisation of tax system and re-deployment of foreign workers,” he said.
On speculation that CPO prices would continue to drop, Chin said: “I feel that the palm oil prices have stabilised in the past one to two months and hope that it continue to stabilise.
“What is more important now is that we have sufficient supply to meet the market demand and yet not oversupply.”