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Bamboo will not replace oil palm as Malaysia’s main commodity: Minister

A worker collecting oil palm fruits at a plantation in Bahau, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia, on Jan 30, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

KUALA LUMPUR, Jul 14, 2020, Bernama. The Plantation Industries and Commodity Ministry does not intend to replace the country’s main commodity, namely oil palm, with bamboo, said its minister Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali said today, Malay Mail reported.

The ministry according to him, is strengthening the oil palm industry with the application of the latest technology as well as expanding overseas markets, diversifying its value-added products and continuing various studies on the benefits of palm oil.

“At the same time, the ministry is exploring bamboo as another future commodity in addition to various other commodities,” he said when replying to a question posed by Datuk Hatta Ramli (PH-Lumut) during the Dewan Rakyat sitting today.

He added, to develop the bamboo industry, the ministry has listed the crop as one of the forest crops that could be commercialised through the Forest Plantation Development Program (PPLH) along with eight other species namely rubber TLC, Acacia, Kelampayan/Laran, Batai, Teak, Binuang, khaya and Sentang.

“The latest balance of the PPLH allocation is RM85 million. My ministry is in the process of changing this loan scheme to shariah-compliant financing, “ he said.

To further develop the bamboo industry, the ministry through the Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB) is currently in the process of producing the Malaysian Bamboo Industry Development Action Plan 2021-2030.

“In terms of bamboo prospects, in general, the global bamboo market size is large, amounting to US$68.80 billion in 2018. Bamboo can be used to produce plywood, furniture, food, fabrics, handicrafts, cutlery, construction, eco-tourism and the manufacture of charcoal and pellets.

“Therefore, the potential of this market needs to be further explored because Malaysia has the advantage in various ways to develop the bamboo industry,” he said.

He also said that bamboo is able to generate an estimated net income of RM36,000 per hectare, after deducting the cost of bamboo cultivation including the cost of labour, seedlings, maintenance.

Production per hectare is RM28,000 per hectare.

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