4 November 2015, Vietnamnews news - The forestry sector has taken measures to restructure the industry by improving productivity and enhancing the value of forest-plantation areas.Nguyen Ba Ngai, deputy director of the Viet Nam Administration of Forestry, said the forestry sector's production value had an annual growth rate of 6.57 per cent in recent years compared to 5.03 per cent per year in the 2010-12 period.
A panaroma of U Minh Ha National Park in the southernmost province of Ca Mau. — VNA/VNS Photo Duy Khuong
Ngai spoke at a seminar held by the General Association of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Localities have carried out forest plantation plans, with more than 200,000 ha of forest planted each year on average nationwide, 90 per cent of which is production forest.
Vo Dai Hai at the Vietnamese Academy of Forest Sciences, said the country's plantation forest area increased from 1.92 million ha in 2012 to nearly 3.7 million ha last year.
The area of certified forest increased to about 170,000 ha, which have received Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification.
According to Nguyen Ton Quyen, deputy chairman and general secretary of the Viet Nam Timber and Forest Product Association, Viet Nam has about 13 million ha of forest area with a timber reserve of 935.3 million cubic metres from both natural and plantation forests. It has about 8.2 billion cubic metres of bamboo reserve.
The overall output of timber harvested from plantation forests has been 15 million cubic metres a year, providing material for paper production, exported chips, basic construction, fuel wood, wooden furniture and furniture exports.
However, plantation and natural forests have had low productivity and quality, failing to meet development requirements, especially for large timber materials for the processing and export industries.
With limited capital and few skilled workers, households often plant small trees that cannot meet the demand of wood-processing companies. In addition, the households often harvest their forests before they mature and sell it as wood chips.
This practice results in low profits.
As a result, enterprises involved in the wood processing industry must spend large sums to import wood materials to process for export, he said.
The local woodwork processing industry has developed rapidly in recent years, with export earnings of US$7 billion this year, creating high demand for raw wood materials.
To solve the materials question, Quyen as well as other delegates suggested businesses work with forest planters to harvest forests more effectively.
Ha Cong Tuan, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the Government should develop policies to encourage businesses to set up processing plants for wood pulp and MDF plywood at forest-plantation areas.
Plantation owners needed help to plant big trees to provide raw material sources for wood-processing companies, he said.
He also suggested that research institutes develop new high-quality seedlings and teach forest owners planting techniques to improve efficiency.
Tuan said a series of free trade agreements would open up opportunities for enterprises to boost export of wooden products.
However, to enjoy the benefits from these FTAs, he said the sector must work to meet requirements set by import countries, including regulations on products made from legal timber sources.
Viet Nam's wooden products made from plantation forest were highly valued by import countries, including selective markets like the US and Japan, he said.