Plywood revival in Mindanao planned

THE MINDANAO Development Authority (MinDA) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) will enter into a partnership to revive the plywood and veneer industry in Mindanao.

MinDA Chairman Emmanuel F. Piñol said in a social media post over the weekend that efforts to revive the industry will involve farmed, fast-growing tree varieties.

Mr. Piñol said that DBP President Emmanuel G. Herbosa and Director Jeannie N. Sandoval expressed their support for the industrial tree farming program.

He added that the scheme involves organizing stakeholders and establishing processing facilities.

“Mindanao was known for its quality plywood produced by such companies as Sta. Clara and others. Later, the tree industry shifted to growing Falcata for the country’s largest paper mill, the Paper Industries Corp. of the Philippines (PICOP) in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur,” Mr. Piñol said.

“PICOP shut down its operations several years ago due to mismanagement,” he added.

Mr. Piñol said Falcata is a fast-growing tree species planted in mountainous terrain, particularly in the Caraga region, with the potential to generate income for rural families.

However, he said tree farmers are disorganized, while the majority of the logs are purchased by private processors or exported to China.

“The logs exported to China are processed into plywood and veneer and sold back to the Philippines depriving the farmers of added value for their trees,” Mr. Piñol said.

Mr. Herbosa said: “This is the approach that we should take in undertaking development projects to provide jobs and boost the economy at the same time.”

MinDA is planning a virtual convention of tree farmers by the end of August to organize the Mindanao Industrial Tree Farming Development Council. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave  

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