Vietnam has a large furniture production and export industry, with exports worth US$2.8 billion in 2008. Timber for this industry is to a large extent imported - at very substantial cost (US$854 million in 2009). Vietnam also has a very large plantation estate of acacias (300-400 k ha) and eucalypts (500 k ha). ACIAR has provided much support in establishing and improving this resource, which has been used largely for the production of low-value pulpwood.
Acacias and eucalypts from natural forests in Australia have long been used for the production of specialty veneers, but the use of plantation acacias and eucalypts for this purpose is in its infancy. The aim of the project was to promote higher value utilisation of Vietnam's eucalypt and acacia plantations by optimising veneer production from this resource.
Underpinning objectives were:
- To analyse existing resource, supply chain and wood processing methodologies, and to support a market focusing on both veneer and veneer-based products;
- To investigate and optimise current processes, and development of optimal processing methods according to quality and sizes of plantation logs of Acacia and Eucalyptus;
- To test and develop new processing methods and products from veneer: new techniques were be tested in order to increase the recovery and the quality as well as to improve product added value produced from Acacia and Eucalyptus;
- To monitor and analyse economic impact of improvements and innovations introduced to small-medium enterprises (SMEs) during the project, and to investigate new value creation;
- To implement education and training related to veneer production and use in manufacturing.
The project strongly complemented project work underway in Australia on production of veneers from some plantation eucalypts.