Bamboo-based timber industry and bamboo shoot processing (for food) industry has the potential to offer good returns and job opportunities in Malaysia, in addition to helping preserve the natural environment.
In a report by New Sarawak Tribune, Primary Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali said bamboo has the potential of becoming the country’s new economic resource, in line with the National Timber Industry Policy and Bamboo Industry Development Action Plan 2.0, he said in an interview with Shukri Rahman, an observer of the bamboo industry.
Bamboo Industry Development Action Plan expected to be launched in October
Mohd Khairuddin said the Bamboo Industry Development Action Plan 2.0 (2021-2030), which is expected to be launched in October, would introduce a comprehensive programme for the bamboo industry, in bid to transform it into a large-scale industry for both the upstream and downstream sectors.
He said a steering committee would be set up at the ministry level to coordinate all activities and monitor the plan’s implementation.
“We do not want a repeat of previous weaknesses, and our aim is to make the bamboo-based industry as the country’s new economic resource as well as an alternative raw material to other forest resources,” he said.
Model bamboo plantation to be developed as a joint venture between the government and Malaysian Timber Industry Board
He said a model bamboo plantation would be developed on 15 hectares in Terengganu with an allocation of RM5 million (from Malaysian Timber Industry Board’s cess collection) as a joint venture between the state government and Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB). Five bamboo species will be cultivated, namely buluh semantan, buluh betong, buluh beting, buluh beti and buluh hitam.
Several large companies in timber industry express interest
MTIB director-general Mohd Kheiruddin Mohd Rani said that several large companies have expressed interest in the bamboo sector. Previously, up to 2016, virtually all industry players in the bamboo industry had been micro enterprises.
“In the last two to three years, large players, both upstream and downstream, began to emerge in the bamboo industry,” he said.
Among the companies currently engaged in bamboo planting activities are New Generation Bamboo (Nami in Sik, Kedah) and Subur Tiasa Sdn Bhd (Sabal, Sarawak).
Some of the benefical characteristics of bamboo include high resistance to pests and diseases and its ability to absorb four times as much carbon dioxide while releasing 35 per cent more oxygen compared to other plants. The plant has a life cycle of about a hundred years.