CA MAU — U Minh Ha National Park in the southern province of Ca Mau is home to 15,000ha of cajeput trees aged seven years or over which are ready for felling, but the park has been unable to find markets for the trees, said deputy director of the park Nguyen Van Dau .
"Construction companies prefer alternative materials such as cement and steel, which cost less than cajeputs, while most processing manufacturers have started to use different types of timber, causing enormous economic damage of up to VND10 billion (US$480,000) annually. A hectare of cajeputs was previously worth up to VND50 million," added Dau.
As a result, hundreds of households are earning less or no money at all.
"Demand for cajeputs has fallen, so I've replaced half of my crop with robinias," said local farmer Nguyen Van Sau. Sau added that there was a large amount of cajeput timber in storage.
Many local processing manufacturers have stopped using cajeputs.
Vu Ngoc Hoang, sales manager at the Local Forest Products No 2 Company, said it was not economically efficient to use cajeputs.
Dau predicted that 2,000ha of cajeputs would go unsold every year if a solution was not found.
To solve the problem, a processing plant is being built in Ca Mau to prepare the timber for export, and this should be operational in the next two to three years.
The forest in U Minh Ha covers an area of 78,000ha, including 38,000ha of cajeput trees, and is aimed at contributing to regional environmental protection.—VNS