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Reaping the bounty of agar trees


  • SME
  • Thursday, 26 Sep 2013

More than meets the eye: Some of the agar tree products at the visitors’ centre. Daily sales on weekends can touch RM100,000.

More than meets the eye: Some of the agar tree products at the visitors’ centre. Daily sales on weekends can touch RM100,000.

The Gaharu Tea Valley in Gopeng took a total of RM40mil to set up and has a current workforce of 100. On weekends, 2,000 visitors contribute to a rough estimate of RM100,000 in daily sales of tea,biscuits, instant noodles, miracle beauty powders, incense, perfume and oils — all harvested from the surrounding agar trees, standing some 200,000 strong in the 121ha (330 acres) plantation that needs about half a million ringgit a month to run.

It took managing director, David Ho, 21 years to build up the business, starting in1992 when he received the first 200 mother trees from a Japanese botanist from Niigata. It took another 15 years of Ho’s personal care before he could get the seeds for replanting, sustaining himself and family on his full-time job as the owner of a heavy machinery business.

Agar trees

   

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