The wood processing industry is to become a spearhead economic sector by 2025, posting export turnover of about USD 20 billion to contribute to socio-economic development and stabilize the livelihoods of people living in forested areas.
Addressing a conference in Hanoi on August 20 to review policies on forestry investment and those on processing and trading forestry products, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan said the forestry industry has recorded high growth in recent years, especially in export turnover.
The sector aims to improve the quality of forests and promote value and production chains for forestry products, focusing on investing in protective and special-use forests to protect the environment and ensure long-term biodiversity.
Support will be provided to poor farmers and the vulnerable, helping them access policies on forestry protection and development in combination with livelihood improvement.
Apart from promoting exports, it is also necessary to develop the domestic market which is valued at around USD 3 billion and demand keeps rising, Tuan said.
He underlined the need to have mechanisms and policies on non-timber forestry products, stressing that priority should be given to developing medicinal products.
Scientists believe that the environmental value and the value of non-timber forest products are about three to four times higher than the value of timber.
According to the Vietnam Administration of Forestry (VAF), about VND 50 trillion was mobilized for developing the forestry sector in the 2016-2020 period, including over VND 8.7 trillion from the State budget, over VND 3 trillion in official development assistance (ODA) capital, and nearly VND 27 trillion invested by organisations and individuals.
According to Bui Chinh Nghia, deputy general director of VAF, investment policies for the sector have proven effective, as the natural forestry area has been managed and protected well, forest quality has gradually improved, and forest coverage increased to 41.89 percent in 2019 from 40.84 percent in 2015 and is expected to hit 42 percent this year.
Many concentrated material areas have been created for the wood processing industry, reaching over 1.3 million ha.
The value of forestry production increased by an average of 5.73 percent annually in the 2016-2020 period. The export value of wood and wooden products rose to USD 11.3 billion in 2019 from USD 7.1 billion in 2015, and is estimated to reach over USD 12 billion this year.
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