Sarawak could become a global hub for bamboo production if it has a proper master plan and identifies the types that could be grown commercially, according to Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg.
As part of the plan, Sarawak targets 10,000 hectares for commercial bamboo plantations and another 1,640 hectares for community cultivation.
The plan is available for download here.
Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg attended the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC) and Rich Venture Plantation Sdn Bhd.
At the ceremony, STIDC General Manager Zainal Abidin Abdullah and Rich Venture Plantation Director Hii Wei Wen were in attendance.
Also present were Deputy Natural Resources and Urban Development Minister Datuk Len Talif Salleh and Rich Venture Plantation managing director Dato Hii King Chiong.
The new agreement will cover the supply of future resources for the Sarawak bamboo industry.
“So far, we have developed 2,760 hectares under commercial plantation and 59 hectares under community plantation,” the Premier said.
“That means we need to develop more land for bamboo plantation.”
Global investment in bamboo is booming.
On Monday, Forest giant Plantations International is widening its mix of forest investments to include bamboo in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The company is actively developing commercial bamboo plantations in various parts of the world.
These locations include Indonesia, Colombia, Kenya, and Brazil.
According to Premier Johari, Sarawak is fortunate to have an ecosystem that enables bamboo to thrive.
“The state would need a proper masterplan to identify areas to plant the bamboo.”
Investment in bamboo to complement investment in timber assets
Bamboo has been likened to sago palm, which is easy to grow and can complement other raw resources such as timber to generate income.
“If we plant a lot of them, they will multiply quickly, and they can be used as raw material for us to manufacture or create downstream products,” he said.
Premier Johari also stressed the importance of research and called on STIDC and its partners to conduct regular studies to pave the way to drive innovation to the state.
“For instance, based on my observation, if you compare bamboo with sugarcane, they are more or less the same.”
“But perhaps if the bamboo was not hollow, it might have a higher moisture content.”
“This might become another product for us to explore and research,” he said.