Indonesia’s Director General of National Export Development, Didi Sumedi, said the Ministry of Trade is committed to support the production and innovative marketing of sustainable lightwood products. Through the lightwood trade, Indonesia can change its image from a tropical wood producer to an innovative and sustainable timber producer.
Didi gave five reasons why Indonesia’s lightwood offers a great opportunity. First, through the Sistem Verificasi Legalitas Kayu (SVLK) Timber Legality Verification, Indonesia is the only country with the timber legality verification system accepted by the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT), which makes Indonesian lightwood products more attractive to consumers in European countries.
Second, the Indonesian timber industry has moved from natural forest harvesting to plantations. Third, Indonesia has pioneer companies that are able to produce innovative lightwood products. Fourth, lightwood production supports the rural economy through providing employment and lightwood growing and sales. And fifth, the lightwood species sengon and jabon can grow quickly and be harvested within five years.
The development of lightwood has received a boost through cooperation between three international organisations, namely the Swiss Import Promotion Program (SIPPO), Fairventures Worldwide, and the German Import Promotion Program (IPD), which will assist with the development of lightwood growing and product development.
Setyo Wisnu Broto, chairman of the Indonesian Lightwood Association (ILWA), has reported that export demand for wood commodities began to increase in line with the recovery of the global economy. He said that at the beginning of the pandemic, demand for wood in export markets fell by around 70% compared pre-pandemic levels.
He also said that demand for plywood products to the United States is currently very strong, and demand in the EU markets is also starting to rise.
However, currently exporters are facing problems due to the scarcity of containers for shipping lightwood to some countries. Break-bulk shipping has been tried, but this is only successful in the US, said the ILWA chairman.