Realising the possibility of exotic plants reaching Kerala through imported timber, SIDCO (Small Industries Development Corporation) has decided to introduce steps to weed out the invasive species.

The agency, which is all set to import large consignments of timber for sawmills in the State, will insist on phytosanitary measures to curb the menace. While inviting global tenders for wood imports, SIDCO would insist on adequate quarantine measures for the imported wood, said B. Saji, managing director, SIDCO.

Recently, an association of sawmill owners had approached SIDCO to facilitate the import of timber to avoid middlemen. Timber is imported from Malaysia, Myanmar and a few African countries. Going by the conservative estimate, timber worth above Rs. 1,000 core is shipped to the State annually. The sawmill owners are expected to give a projection of their requirement to the agency in a fortnight.

The agency has also sought the support of experts from the Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI), Peechi, for the introduction of quarantine measures.

An expert from the institute would be requested to advise the technical committee to be formed for the import of timber, Mr. Saji said.