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   Gaharu News Tapping Gaharu Potential in Brunei

Brunei-Muara - Gaharu extract can help diversify the economy with the huge profits that can be made from the fragrant oil.

At almost US$ 25,000 per kilogramme of Gaharu tree core or about $2,200 per 12m1 bottle for the oil extract, it would be foolish of us not to venture into this market, said Hj Md Ali Hj Dollah Managing Director of Gaharu Berjaya Resources Sdn Bhd.

The locally owned company is one of the few establishments dealing with the valuable endangered Agarwood, known locally as Gaharu.

Gaharu extract which can be made into various products such as lotions, perfume oil and soap is an inductry generating US$1.2 billion in Singapore.

Brunei which has an ideal environment for planting these trees can actually profit, especially when the quality of our Gaharu extract is considered to be among the most expensive kind, said local entrepreneur Hj Md Ali.

"We have been trying to develop the industry here in Brunei. However, with the difficulties that we face, we have had to try overseas with a bigger market and much more established industry," he added.

At the moment, the company has about 12,000 trees planted in both east and west Malaysia some of which have already been produced into various soaps, oils and lotions.

However, there is a very short supply in the face of demand hence the huge profits that can be derived from its many products, he said.

Currently there only about 16 per cent of that demand is being filled which equates to a huge profit margin for those who can fill that demand, said Hj Md Ali.

Hj Md Ali said that they started planting some 200 trees in Brunei in the Bengkurong/ Masin areas in 2007.

"So far we have managed to sustain the trees enough to start off the inoculation process which will speed up the production process for the tree resin which can then be used to manufacture the oils, lotion, soaps and so on," he said.

At the moment we are looking into developing green tea from the leaves, said Hj Md Ali adding that this is one of the few products that can come from the Gaharu tree.

In 2010, they have further expanded operations to Tutong with 500 trees and 700 trees in Temburong.

Hj Md Ali stated that they have roughly 6,000 trees planted in the country itself, but said that this number is inclusive of trees sold and planted by the public.

"We sell the seeds to the public," said Hj Md Ali adding that they will buy the trees back from the public when they have reached maturity after five to seven years.

The Kg Belimbing community in Mukim Kota Batu yesterday received 11 Gaharu trees as part of a public awareness campaign initiated by Gaharu Berjaya Resources Sdn Bhd.

As part of their company's initative to promote knowledge about Gaharu to the Brunei public as well as to raise awareness of the merits of Gaharu to be a significant industry in the country, company staff alongside members of the mosque community planted 11 of the endangered trees around the mosque.

"It is our responsibility to provide the public with knowledge about the Gaharu tree and its industrial potential," said Hj Mohd Ali Hj Dollah, Managing Director of Gaharu Berjaya Resources.

We have been trying to raise public awareness about the huge potential the tree has in terms of investment and "our company aims to be able to plant these trees at all prayer halls and mosques in the country", he added.

He also mentioned that once the public is aware of the possibilities, they hope that many others will also join in and start- planting the trees as it can help to provide a proper income for them.

Hj Md Ali also said that currently they are trying to develop the industry in the country and need the help of the government to realise its full potential. -- Courtesy of The Brunei Times

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