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Bright Prospects For Gaharu Business in Brunei

Brunei Darussalam has the potential to become a major gaharu producer and even replace Singapore as a gaharu commercial hub if steps are taken to encourage the commercial planting of "pokok keras" (woodchips) that can help produce gaharu on a large or small scale.

Brunei's gaharu is one of the most expensive in the world, costing RM4,800 for 12nd in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.

This was revealed by General Manager of Legenda Yakin Sdn Bhd, Mohd Zulkifli bin Haji Zakaria, at a one-day course on Gaharu Commercial Planting, Incubator and Gaharu Potential Industry organised by Gaharu Berjaya Enterprise in Gadong.

The seminar was attended by prospective gaharu farmers, as well as officials from the Forestry Department and Agriculture and Agrifood Department and representatives from banks.

Among the much-needed steps are to find a method to produce "effective" gaharu, to upgrade gaharu essence oil production technology, to seek support from financial institutions to develop the industry as well as to ensure that the industry gains support from the government by obeying the international trade regulations.

To further promote the industry, the authorities concerned are organising business networking missions to user/consumer countries such as in the Middle East and Europe as well as China.

The high price fetched for Brunei's gaharu shows that the Sultanate's land is suitable for planting gaharu.

"So why should we avoid these opportunities?" Mohd Zulkifli, said adding that, "We can plant gaharu even in the front or backyard of houses like what is being done in Malaysia".

He said Malaysia, Indonesia and India are the main producers of gaharu and gaharu essence oil, beside Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Brunei.

He said Singapore is the world hub for gaharu and gaharu essence oil market.

The world's main importers of gaharu are Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Kuwait, UAE, Taiwan, China, Japan, South Korea, US and Europe.

Mohd Zulkifli said he hoped to see more Bruneians get involved in commercial gaharu planting. He said 15 Aquilaria species can produce gaharu and several species are found in the forests of Malaysia and Brunei and other parts of Borneo.

They are Aquilaria Hirta, Aquilaria Malaccencis, Aquilaria Beccariana, Aquilaria Rostrata, Aquilaria Microcarpa, Aquilaria Sub-Integra, Aquilaria Crassna and Hybrid. Read more about Gaharu Species.

He said in Brunei the Aquilaria species is found in forest reserves in Temburong, Tutong and Kuala Belait, according to sources from the Malaysia Timber Industry Board.

Gaharu trees are protected under the Fauna and Flora Act 2007 and CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species).

Gaharu is reported to have the potential to cure health problems such as cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart diseases.

He said gaharu is also used in traditional medicines, art work and essence oil. Gaharu is widely used in the fragrance industry and modern medicines.

Gaharu is also used in making hair shampoo and soap, while gaharu leaves can be used to make tea


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