ALOR SETAR: Kedah is looking at the success achieved by Brazil and Peru in looking at new sources of revenue for the state instead of depending on timber.
Menteri Besar Mukhriz Mahathir said this idea came about after he initiated a discussion with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in New York recently.
“UNDP is the main driver of the emission reduction programme as a result of logging and degradation of forests (REDD).
“They were impressed with Kedah’s stand and invited me to a discussion on ‘Forests and Finance’ in the German representative’s office to the United Nations the next night.
“Meeting with experts in the fields of finance and sustainable forestry revealed the numerous approaches taken by countries that face the same issue as Kedah.
“For example, the success achieved by Brazil and Peru can be the basis for formulating similar strategy in Kedah,” he said in a statement today.
Mukhriz said this may help Kedah ensure the sustainability of forest resources while exploring the potential of economic activities through eco-tourism to increase state revenue.
He said Kedah did not have natural resources such as oil and gas to generate wealth. Forest products and raw materials, such as iron ore, tin and other minerals, were limited and could not contribute to the state revenue.
“The agriculture sector focuses on padi. Various subsidies are provided but padi farmers are still not among the rich.
“Kedah has decided to stop logging in the Ulu Muda forest reserve area and part of the Kedah forest is gazetted as a permanent forest or catchment area to ensure water supply to the people and the padi industry in Kedah is guaranteed.
“In addition, all new applications for logging concessions in the Ulu Muda Forest Reserve have been rejected and the old concessions have been discontinued,” he said.