Making furniture from rubber wood
Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, under the guidance of Bangladesh Forest Industries Development Corporation (BFIDC), has initiated the manufacturing of furniture from rubber wood in Rangamati's Kaptai upazila.
Being the first of its kind in the country, the furniture is being made in the Lumber Processing Complex.
According to sources at the processing complex, a rubber tree becomes unproductive following 7-8 years of repeated extraction. These trees were used as firewood until the forest department stopped supplying wood to manufacture railway sleepers, arbor and pillar poles.
"With no resource for raw materials, the authorities shifted to furniture making using rubber trees as BFIDC research reveals the durability of this wood to be around 40-50 years. Currently, we produce low and high-length benches, conference and tables for secretariat, wardrobes and chairs," said Jit Ray, head of the processing complex.
Since 2014, various rubber trees have been collected from the gardens and brought to BFIDC. In the last fiscal year, the processing complex sold benches worth Tk 6-7 crore to various educational institutes and government offices.
The processing unit receives two varieties of wood -- segun from the forest department and rubber from their own plantations. Upon reaching the plant, the rubber wood is chipped, seasoned, treated, and cut into required shapes and sizes, said the unit's sales officer Mohammad Al Amin.
"Our customers, mostly agricultural universities, schools and government offices, are content with the quality of furniture. This product is eco-friendly, sustainable and durable," said the processing plant's assistant manager Bilas Kumar Biswas.
The plant currently employs around 200 workers. However, with more support from the authorities, it can be expanded, facilitating more employment opportunities for locals, he added.