Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Planting and growing falcatta trees still generates a lot of income

By Aurelio A. Pena

Planting and growing falcatta trees still generates a lot of income for many tree farmers in the Davao Region.

This was made clear by the forest division chief Alfredo Zarasate of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to consultants of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) during a recent workshop of the National Industry Cluster Capacity Enhancement Project (NICCEP), a joint project of JICA and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Zarasate, who also sits as chairman of the wood industry cluster, said the demand for falcatta has remained strong among factories in Mindanao that uses this soft wood specie in the manufacture of plywood and paper.

"There's still a big demand for falcatta and tree farmers are still planting and expanding their tree plantations to meet this demand from wood manufacturing plants in Mindanao," Zarasate told JICA consultants.

The wood cluster chairman cited manufacturing firms like Alcantara and Sons which is still buying big volumes of falcatta from tree farmers for its plywood production.

Zarasate also cited the banana industry which is urging tree farmers to grow more falcatta for its huge demand for banana poles in the banana plantations.

According to Zarasate, the region is running out of supply of naturally-grown wood trees which might not last in the years ahead. This tight supply is moving DENR to encourage more tree plantations in the Davao region with private firms investing in tree plantations.

"We like to see more tree plantations run by the private sector to meet the increasing demand for more wood by various industries," Zarasate said.

In the National Greening Program of the government, the DENR is determined to see more planting programs for indigenous species like molave, lawaan, narra and acacia, Zarasate said.

"These are the natural species we like to propagate in this national tree program as part of our efforts on reforestation" he said.

Tree farmers, on the other hand, have began losing interest in the planting of Gmelina trees due to its low market demand in the wood industry, but in the near future this demand is still expected to recover depending on the market conditions in the Davao Region, Zarasate said.

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