Thu, 26 Oct 2000

Plywood exports bring Indonesia $1,26b

JAKARTA (JP): The volume of Indonesia's plywood exports totaled 3.61 million cubic meters in the first six months of this year, according to the Indonesian Plywood Producers Association.

The association's chairman Abbas Adhar said on Tuesday that in total value, the plywood exports in the Jan-July period reached $1.26 billion.

"The value of exports in the year 2000 is almost the same as that of 1999," he was quoted as saying by Antara news agency.

In 1999, the country's plywood exports totaled 7.767 million cubic meters worth US$2.7 billion.

The average price of plywood this year was $349.26 per cubic meter, up slightly from $348.19 last year, he said.

Abbas said the combined production of association members was around eight million cubic meters a year, of which seven million cubic meters were exported.

Indonesia enjoyed a golden period in plywood exports in 1992 when exports reached 9,782 million cubic meters in 1992 amounting to $4.589 billion in value.

The price of plywood in the period was US$450-470 per cubic meter.

At present plywood is the country's second non-oil foreign exchange earner after textiles and textile products. Since the crisis in 1998, the plywood price has continued to drop.

Abbas said that the association was seeking the government's approval to allow plywood producers to develop industrial estates to guarantee a sustainable log supply for their future operation.

He said that the plywood industry needs at least 1.6 million hectares of land to secure the supply of at least 16 million cubic meters a year.

He said the national log demand was 63 million cubic meters of wood a year while natural forest land yields only 24 million cubic meters of logs a year.

The plywood industry had to rely on yield from natural forests as concessions to develop industrial forest estates were only given to pulp and paper producers.

"In principle the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, as well as the Junior Minister for Forestry has approved of our suggestion," Abbas said, adding that the proposal will be further discussed before it can be realized.

Each plywood company would need between 30,000 to 50,000 hectares of land for their industrial forest development, he said.

Abbas said Apkindo's members were willing to bear the cost of developing the industrial forests instead of obtaining reforestation funds from the government.

The development of an industrial forest, which costs about Rp 5 million a hectare, is partly financed by the government's reforestation funds.(10)