Kathmandu, December 13
It has been found that more than 50 per cent of timber products in the market are imported.
According to Federation of Forest Based Industry and Trade Nepal at least 29.4 million cubic feet timber products worth around Rs 88 billion was imported from Malaysia, Indonesia, Burma, Vietnam, New Zealand, Denmark, Africa and Australia in the fiscal 2071/072.
The import was made even as at least 37.6 million cubic feet timber was dumped in the forests of Nepal due to tight provision on removal of trees in the name of Chure conservation and other restrictions.
President of FenFIT Kapil Adhikari said timber import from abroad was increasing due to strict provisions and high market price.
“All kinds of timber products are being imported from Malaysia, Burma and New Zealand, although there is enough timber in the country to meet the demand,” Adhikari told The Himalayan Times.
According to a study conducted by the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation last year, community-managed forests alone have 41.5 million cubic feet of timber in stock. Similarly, 718,000 cubic feet of timber can be extracted from different national forests.
Different depots across the country have 2.3 million of cubic feet of timber in stock. Likewise, 9.26 million cubic feet of timber can be extracted from fallen, dead and decaying trees in national forests.
The government had enforced the ban on extraction of forest resources in 2009 to control massive deforestation in Chure.
A furniture store operator informed they were relying on imports for the last few years. “It is not only a cumbersome process but also expensive to buy timber in Nepal,” he said, adding, “So most of the furniture outlets have using at least 80 per cent timber imported from abroad.” According to him per cubic feet of saal costs around Rs 5,800, whereas Malaysian saal costs only Rs 4200 per cubic feet.
Forest experts say said Chure conservation programme had hit timber production as Churiya range covers Nepal’s major productive forests. Chure range was declared Conservation area by the government on June 16, 2014.
A minister-level decision on May 7, 2015 further complicated the process of felling trees and removing dead trees from the forests.
Experts claim 120 to 150 million cubic feet timber could be produced from the forests of Nepal through scientific management.
A version of this article appears in print on December 14, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.