No 2 Gaharu producer, but...
Published on: Sunday, January 31, 2010
Kota Kinabalu: Malaysia is the world's second largest Gaharu producer but is not truly benefiting due to unfocussed and unsystematic development plans.
Malaysian Nuclear Agency (Nuclear Malaysia) Director-General Datuk Dr Daud Mohamad said based on market and trade network research, the country's Gaharu resources actually benefited foreigners and other countries.
"This is either through illegal exploitation activities or through manipulation of the trade system," he said at the joint-venture agreement signing ceremony between Nuclear Malaysia and Sabah Land Development Board (SLDB) to develop the agarwood industry in Sabah.
At the same time, Dr Daud said Malaysia was also facing external pressure from those unhappy with the country's resource management system.
The resin obtained from Gaharu is a valuable commodity, especially in the Middle East, as it is turned into perfume and aromatic products.
He said Nuclear Malaysia took a proactive step to conduct Gaharu-related research in almost every aspect such as legal, marketing, processing, grading technology, forest management, plantation development, Gaharu resin inducer technology and production of high quality "Karas" seed.
"The main objective is to provide a technology platform and scientific information in the implementation of the industry's development programme," he said.
"Our main aspiration is for the local Gaharu produce and resources to be fully maximised without neglecting the environmental aspect to ensure the forest bio-diversity and ecosystem in our country will always be preserved."
The Gaharu industry could become a new economic resource for a community and has great potential to be the implementing instrument of the rural poverty eradication programme, he added.
Speaking to reporters later, Dr Daud said research in nuclear technology was closely related to other fields like medical, industry, environment and agriculture.
"So, the development of Gaharu is in the agriculture sector," he said, adding that Gaharu research in Nuclear Malaysia, an agency under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, was one of its spin-offs conducted since 2003.
He said since the Nuclear Malaysia did now want results of these research remaining only in the laboratory those yielding progressive results would be put forward and shared to help boost the community's socio-economy, among others.
The move to collaborate with Nuclear Malaysia in the development of agarwood in Sabah was seen as a step by SLDB to further strengthen its aspiration to become the region's main producer of Gaharu.
Under the agreement, SLDB would be utilising Nuclear Malaysia's technical expertise for the implementation of two core activities namely, the development of agarwood plantation and oil extract factory in Nabawan.
This agreement establishes Nuclear Malaysia's role as the provider of technical expertise and systematic cultivation approach to ensure the quality of cultivated agarwood seeds is high and production of agarwood oil products are capable to meet market demands.
Nuclear Malaysia would also prepare the facility development plan which would comply with the stipulated standards and the project in Nabawan was also believed to be the future model for Sabah's overall agarwood industry development.
SLDB General Manager, Jhuvarri Majid said so far SLDB had planted about 20,000 Gaharu trees as an inter-crop at an oil palm estate in Lahad Datu.
He said the endeavour with Nuclear Malaysia is expected to spur economic development as well as enhance the living standards of the people in the remote Nabawan area.
Under Phase One of the development plan, the Gaharu industry facilities would be set up, which would have extraction facilities and development of aquilaria plantation.
A one-stop centre of Gaharu would be developed under Phase Two while the last phase would see the development of a centre of reference for Gaharu education and training purposes.
Witnessing the signing ceremony was Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili and SLDB Chairman, Datuk Sapawi Ahmad.
Representing Nuclear Malaysia was Dr Daud while Jhuvarri signed on behalf of SLDB.
Sunday, January 31, 2010