Bangladesh Forest Industries Development Corporation

Bangladesh Forest Industries Development Corporation (BFIDC) the government of the then East Pakistan by its Ordinance No. 67 of 1959 established this autonomous body under the name 'East Pakistan Forest Industries Development Corporation'. The name of the corporation was changed to Bangladesh Forest Industries Development Corporation, under Presidential Order No. 48 of 1972 with its headquarters in Dhaka.

The major aims and objectives of Bangladesh Forest Industries Development Corporation are to extract timber from inaccessible and thinly populated natural forests of the chittagong hill tracts and thus to make vacant land available to the Forest Department for raising dense and intensive forests with specified species of trees of both commercial and environmental value; to increase longevity of the extracted timber by seasoning and treatment scientifically and thus to help meet the country's increasing demand of timber; to produce veneered board, particle board, veneer, plywood as substitute of solid timber from unusable softwood, fire wood, waste and off-cut of timber and thus to help reduce the dependence on trees for protection of environment; to meet the increasing demand of wooden electric poles, anchor-logs, stabiliser logs and cross-arms used in rural electrification and thus to save the scarce foreign currency of the country; to raise rubber plantations in the fallow, hilly and semi-hilly unused lands and thus to help afforestation and improvement of environment; and to produce and meet the increasing domestic demand of raw rubber and thus to save the valuable foreign currency of the country by substituting import.

The Corporation started timber extraction activities from Karnafuli Valley Reserve Forests in 1960 and from Sangu Matamuhuri Reserve Forests in 1963. At Present the corporation has 12 timber based industrial units whose location, production capacity and products are mentioned below:

Type of industrial unit Units Location Production capacity Products/Services
Timber Extraction Unit 2 Kaptai and Round timber = 25.50 lac cft Round timber, size
Chittagong Firewood = 5.00 lac cft timber and fire wood
Timber Sawing, 3 Kaptai, Timber sawing = 9.50 lac cft Sawn timber, railway
Seasoning and Chittagong Timber seasoning = 8.00 lac cft sleeper, electric pole,
Treatment Unit and Khulna Timber treatment = 13.70 lac cft anchor log, stabilizer
Timber plaining = 2.50 lac cft log, cross arm, cable- drum, etc
Timber Seasoning and 3 Dhaka, Timber sawing = 4.50 lac cft Sawn timber, door
Cabinet Manufacturing Chittagong Timber seasoning = 0.56 lac cft and window,
Unit and Khulna Door and window = 9.00 lac sft furniture and timber
Furniture = 0.55 lac cft seasoning
Furniture 2 Dhaka and Furniture = 0.81 lac cft Furniture and flush
Manufacturing Unit Chittagong Flush door = 1.00 lac sft door
Particle Board and Veneer 1 Chittagong Veneered Particleboard = 64.00 lac sft Veneered particle
Manufacturing Unit Veneer = 52.00 lac sft board and veneer
Plywood/Tea-chest 1 Chittagong Plywood = 70.00 lac sft Plywood and tea-
Manufacturing Unit Tea-chest = 3.00 lac pcs chest

Since its creation, the corporation has so far received 70,729 acres of coupe (forest area) from the reserve forests of Kassalong, Ringkheng and Sangu Matamuhuri of Chittagong Hill Tracts and extracted timber from these areas and handed over the vacant land to the Forest Department for raising dense forests. From these coupes 28 million cft of timber was extracted till now. With this timber railway sleepers, cross-arms, doors, windows, furniture, veneered particle board, veneer, ply-wood, tea chest, cable-drums, etc, were manufactured and supplied to different government and semi-government agencies, autonomous bodies, private organisations and development projects.

In addition, the Corporation raised rubber plantation in 13,000 acres of land from 1962 to 1979 out of its own fund in the periphery of reserve forests of Chittagong and Sylhet region. In addition the corporation raised rubber plantation in 7 estates in greater Chittagong district, 4 estates in greater Sylhet district, 4 estates in greater Mymensingh district and 2 experimental estates in Rangpur and Chittagong with the financial assistance of Government of Bangladesh and Asian Development Bank.

The present rubber plantation of the Corporation is 32,665 acres in the fallow, hilly and semi-hilly areas of greater Chittagong, Sylhet and Mymensingh districts. In these estates there exist about 41,00,000 rubber trees. The corporation in this way has engaged itself in growing dense forest as well as in helping the Forest Department in afforestation of the area handed over to them after extraction of timber. Moreover, the corporation gives technical assistance to the private entrepreneurs for raising rubber plantation and so far the private planters have raised about 33,000 acres of rubber gardens having over 4 million rubber trees. It may be pointed out that average density of trees is only 9-10 per acre in the natural reserve forests from where the corporation extracts timber. On the contrary, average density of trees is 126 per acre in the rubber estates raised by the corporation. Therefore, the density of trees is more than 12 times higher in the rubber estates than that of the natural reserve forests. Distributions of rubber plantations of the corporation go as follows:

Table The region-wise rubber plantations of the corporation.

Name of the region Plantation area (in acre) No. of trees (in lac) Production 1996-97 (m ton) Production 1997-98 (m ton) Production capacity 1998-99 (m ton)
Mature (productive) Immature Total
Chittagong region 16.627 5.57 11.22 16.79 1,250 952 1,520
Sylhet region 8,083 7.76 1.45 9.22 2,126 1,889 2,300
Madhupur region 7,955 1.78 13.42 15.20 53 125 210
Total 32,665 15.11 26.09 41.21 3,429 2,966 4,030

During the financial year 2002-2003, the production of raw-rubber is expected to increase up to 5,000 m ton when all the immature rubber trees will become productive. The corporation has so far produced 28,628 m tons of raw-rubber and fed the local rubber industries. The private rubber gardens are at present producing approx. 3,000 m tons of raw-rubber annually. Thus the present annual rubber production of the country is approx. 7,000 m tons which meet above 80% of the domestic requirement of raw rubber. [Md Habibur Rahman Khan]

See also bangladesh forest research institute.