The Ministry of Environment and Forestry has reported that around 70% of rural inhabitants still depend to some extent on the natural resources in forests. The Ministry estimates that some 35,000 villages are impacted and that some 10 million people in the country are assesed as poor and have no legal rights to resources from the forest.
Siti Nurbaya, Minister for Environment and Forestry, said in an official statement that data from the Ministry indicates that the past policy of forest management permits is oriented to the timber private sector. Data shows that 42 mil. Ha. of state forest are subject to management permits but that only 4% of these are for community utilization. To correct this the Ministry has established a social forestry program through which permits are granted directly to communities. This program involving communities has become one of the Presidents priorities. The Association of Indonesian Furniture and Handicraft Industry (HIMKI) has raised questions on the management of the timber trading system. Abdul Sobur, Secretary General of HIMKI said that the availability of domestic timber is declining and that prices are rising as a result. Sobur commented that furniture makers are now considering increasing raw material imports which currently run to around 25% of sector consumption. Furniture exports could benefit from US/China trade dispute. The trade dispute between the US and China is providing business opportunities for furniture producers according to Wang Sutrisno, Director of the Indonesian company, Wood. Wang commented that China accounts for almost 50% of US wooden furniture imports while Indonesia, until recently, could only secure a 3% share. Indonesia’s share of US imports is set to rise, said Wang, as buyers in the US look for alternative suppliers. Indonesian furniture gaining recognition in international markets. Twenty-seven Indonesian designers attended the furniture and interior design exhibition “Salone Internazionale del Mobile” in Milan last April. The conclusion drawn from the event was that Indonesian furniture products and designs are increasingly gaining recognition in international markets and have a firm standing in Italy where there are several Indonesian furniture showrooms as well as online furniture sales businesses managed by Italian companies. Aries Asriadi, from the Indonesian Embassy in Rome, commented that Indonesia furniture makers need to continue to promote products with high added value attract Italian buyers. For more information.