Co-op goes full throttle on agarwood for ‘safety net’
KOPERASI Perniagaan dan Perusahaan Melayu Berhad Seria (KPPMS) is going all out to develop its agarwood (gaharu) plantation as a “safety net” to ensure the cooperative’s sustainability in the long haul.
The move was made considering that there is a demand for the product, said KPPMS Chairperson Hj Ahmad Hj Hassan, adding that a single agarwood, which is often used to make perfumes, could cost from $4,000 to $6,000.
KPPMS started planting agarwood trees in Kg Sungai Gana, Sungai Liang five years ago, with the land now boasting around 200 trees, which need seven more years to be harvested.
While waiting, Hj Ahmad said KKPMS is also looking for ways to ensure the woods they will harvest will be of good quality, by learning the proper techniques from well-known agarwood establishments in Brunei.
He noted that there are only a few agarwood plantations in the sultanate, located mainly in Tutong and Temburong, despite the demand, possibly because the trees take a long time to mature.
“But since there is a demand, this makes it an ideal business to be explored,” he said, adding that KPPMS at the moment is only looking to become suppliers.
He expressed hopes that related local business would be created with agarwood supply becoming stable.
The reason why the agarwood plantation is considered a “safety net”, Hj Ahmad shared, is because KPPMS businesses are currently facing various challenges that affect profitability.
The cooperative’s hotel business is having trouble attracting occupants that they are now thinking of strategies or promotion to attract cutomers, he said.
KPPMS’ fuel station in Seria is also getting a stagnant income due to its small space, Hj Ahmad said, limiting it to sell gasoline including RON97 but not diesel.
He said they are seeking government approval to relocate to another area in Seria that can accomodate the storage needed for both gasoline and diesel products.
The cooperative, he shared, has recently appointed its board of directors for 2016-2017, who pledged to be more active in overseeing the cooperative’s progress.
With the new appointments, Hj Ahmad expressed hopes they would work not only to ensure the sustainability of the cooperative but also unlock other business potentials for the group, especially in Belait.
The Brunei Times