Boosting supply of raw materials for wood processing industry

Along with the spectacular growth of exports of wood and forestry products over recent time, forest planting activities have developed in an effective manner. However, in order to meet the demand for raw materials for the wood processing industry, businesses and localities need to focus on afforestation, further improving crop quality and ensuring certification of origin in accordance with the law.

Farmers in Son Dong district, Bac Giang province at an acacia nursery
Farmers in Son Dong district, Bac Giang province at an acacia nursery

In 2018, the country planted more than 231,000 hectares of concentrated forest and more than 63 million scattered trees in 2018, raising the forest coverage to 41.65 per cent. Meanwhile, the total export of forestry products was estimated at more than US$9.3 billion.

According to assessments of managers, raw materials can currently meet over 70% of the demand from domestic wood and forest product processing industry. The increasing demand requires enterprises and localities to further improve forest cover and productivity as well as quality of material areas.

Currently, there are 183 recognised forest tree species, of which 55 varieties are popularly planted. Acacia and eucalyptus species account for 70% of the production forest area, with an area of more than one million hectares. There are about 700 registered seed production and trading units and individuals nationwide, of which 30% belong to the management board of forest protection and forestry companies, producing about 20% of seedlings each year.

Thanks to good variety and application of scientific and technological advances, the productivity of planted forests throughout the country has been increasing, reaching an average of about 15 m3 per hectare a year.

According to Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan, by 2025, the whole country will strive to reach about 3.5 million hectares of production forests, of which 50% of the area has been applied with new seed technology, and two million hectares of forests received sustainable forest certification.

Currently, the enforcement of forest seed legislation is being strictly managed. However, there are still several forest owners using forest seeds of unknown origin with low productivity and quality.

In order to gradually master the source of raw materials, afforestation enterprises and localities need to promote the development of high-quality forests. However, afforestation is directly related to the land fund as well as the investment capacity of producers. In fact, forest land funds are mainly contracted to households. The production is fragmented, small, and doesn’t follow the general planning. In order to quickly and stably develop forest production areas, it is necessary to plan the development of specialised cultivation areas with high productivity and quality.

According to Chairman of Scansia Pacific Company Nguyen Chien Thang, the demand for raw materials for the wood processing industry is now stimulating forest plantation. According to recent statistics, in 2018, the total supply of wood materials for businesses is over 40 million m3, of which the domestic exploitation of materials has reached more than 30 million m3. Accordingly, the wood processing industry in Vietnam has enhanced the use of domestic raw materials, thereby promoting added value to the supply of wood materials.

Commenting on the current production capacity of wood and forest products, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Timber and Forest Products Association Nguyen Ton Quyen said that except for rubber wood and home garden wood, the rest of the planted forest wood has small diameter with low productivity quality. The current types of wood products used for export processing are mainly acacia and rubber, in addition some other types of wood such as eucalyptus and linden, etc. It is necessary to have a long-term and continuous investment plan to research and add moreplant varieties to provide large timber for the wood processing industry.

Afforestation has many favourable opportunities for development due to the increasing demand for wood and forest products. Along with enhancing the role of state management of the forestry sector, it is required for localities to strengthen inspection and supervision of the origin of seedlings. In addition, the State needs to devise policies on credit support and infrastructure investment, in order to encourage the research and transfer of high-quality crop varieties to meet the demand for both domestic consumption and export.