Gaharu: Scent of a thriving trade
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
CLOSE to 100,000 agarwood (gaharu trees) have been planted by Gaharu Berjaya Resources at their plantations in the country to meet the increasing demand for the wood.
Hj Mohd Ali Hj Dollah, managing director of Gaharu Berjaya Resources, told _The Brunei Times _in the interview, that there has been positive support received from Bruneians.
“We want to produce products for Brunei… So far the community has been supporting us, which allows us to reach that figure as of now,” he said.
The establishment owned 87,000 agarwood trees planted by local growers in 2014, in addition to an estimated 8.6 million agarwood trees planted across Borneo.
Hj Mohd Ali added they were at the second phase of inoculation project in which the locally-grown trees were expected to be harvested in a couple of years.
Inoculation involves vaccines containing bacteria that would react with the tree to produce gaharu oil or resin.
“We are expecting to harvest two wild agarwood trees either at the end of this month or in May but subject to approval from the authorities. We have injected vaccine in the trees to speed up the resin production process,” he said adding that the trees have grown over 20 years.
The minimum duration for a vaccinated agarwood to mature and produce resin is about two years which then can be harvested for extraction. “Without the (vaccination) technology, normally it will take about 50 to 80 years for the trees to produce resin depending on the type of bacteria affecting the tree,” he said.
In the natural process, an agarwood may get its bacterial infection through lightning, bird pecks and termites attacks.
So far, there are about 30 wild agarwood trees that have been inoculated, he added.
To show how lucrative agardwood can be as a business, Mohd Izzat Mohd Yunus, a supervisor in the logistics department at the company, estimated that over $500,000 could be made from the sales of perfumes and agarwood seedlings.
“The price for the agarwood varies… a small tree which aged seven years can cost over $20,000. If to consider over sales, it can reach over millions of dollars…” he said.
“We have high demand from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Singapore. They will buy the oil and the wood,” said Mohd Izzat.
He added that members of the public interested to buy the seedlings should visit their office in Bengkurong Masin for further inquiries.
The Brunei Times