Non-Timber Forest Products Exchange Programme

Assessment of Policies on Non-Timber Forest Products – Country Study: Malaysia

October 13, 2020

National policies and the supporting regulations recognise the exis-tence of NTFPs. However, management of these resources lacks closer attention suggesting that awareness of the value and potential of these resources is extremely low among the relevant policy makers.

In the meantime, forest products are being extracted and the lack of official data indicates that the exploitation is not registered and regulated which could result in over exploitation and even loss of government’s revenue.

For example, wild honey is prevalent in the market place both in the rural and urban areas but national data does not provide any information. In the case of Peninsular Malaysia, NTFPs are lumped together under other forest products. It is unclear if the relevant authorities at the districts and states level actually record and quantify the extraction, let alone collect any fees or royalties.

Similarly, the lack of data applies to the two main NTFPs that received the most attention – rattan and bamboo – for their utilization as secondary materials for the downstream timber industry.

This shortcoming in the regulatory framework has been identified by the National Biological Diversity Policy (2016-2025) where it has proposed for the development of mechanisms to value NTFPs so that the resources can be incorporated into national accounting systems and forest management practices. As this policy applies to all 3 regions in Malaysia, it could be a useful policy for the develop-ment and management of NTFPs for the country.

(National accounting system refers to the GDP and there were some quarters calling for the inclusion of the concept of payment for ecosys-tem services to be factored into the GDP accounting.)

In addition, the new forest policy of Sabah clearly noted the need to identify NTFPs with commercial value and is expected to provide a clearer management framework in the near future.

Although Malaysia is a member of the ASEAN which has active discussion on social forestry and NTFPs, the lack of clear national policies illustrating a major disconnect with its commitment at the regional level