PORT DICKSON: The biocomposites industry in Malaysia has been growing rapidly, recording exports worth RM4.3 billion last year, or 19 per cent of the total timber exports value of RM22.74 billion.
Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng(pix) said the major exporters of biocomposite products, comprising plywood, veneer and fibreboard, are the United States, Japan, China and Singapore.
“There are 176 plywood factories, seven factories each producing chipboards and fibreboards, and three wood plastic composite (WPC) factories in the country for producing biocomposite raw materials, especially for the furniture and construction sectors.
“At the global level, the country is ranked fifth as a plywood exporter, 17th for fibreboard and 29th for chipboard,“ he told reporters after officiating the construction of a food and beverage kiosk made from WPC here today. The project is a collaboration involving the Malaysian Timber Industry Board, Port Dickson Municipal Council and Perceptive Profile Sdn Bhd.
Wee also said that the WPC market is expected to see sustained global growth over the next five years driven by the growth of the construction and building sector, especially in North America and Europe.
According to him, the sector is expected to be the largest WPC consumer, along with the automotive sector for its light automotive components. Consumers, too, have started using WPC as a measure to preserve the environment because it is made from recycled materials, he said.
Wee, who expressed optimism that WPC will be the focus of importing countries in tandem with the rise in demand for environmentally-friendly timber products from developed countries, said more initiatives need to be implemented to introduce wood products to the global market.
WPC products are environmentally-friendly timber alternatives and are produced from two main materials, namely natural wood and plastic fibres.
He said the MTIB, in collaboration with private companies, will develop housing units from biocomposite products that are waterproof, durable and termite-resistant, known as FAST (friendly, affordable, system and technology).
Estimated to cost between RM70,000 and RM100,000 per unit, these houses will initially be built in Pahang before being introduced in other states.
In another development, Wee said the government is constantly monitoring the situation to stabilise palm oil prices in the market where the price of fresh fruit bunches had dropped to RM1,000 per metric tonne as of June 22.
“(The price of) oil palm depends on international market supply and demand, and the government is making efforts to boost prices, especially ex-farm prices. I am confident that if the government can stabilise the ex-farm prices, it will help smallholders,“ he said.-Bernama