GROWING by leaps and bounds, Rural Asset Group, Malaysia’s growing integrated agarwood plantation company, marked another milestone in its journey.
The company saw the launch of its headquarters in Ara Damansara, Petaling Jaya recently by its managing director Yeo Tien Kiong and Malaysian Timber Industry Board director-general Datuk Dr Jalaluddin Harun.
The headquarters houses a lab, showroom and conference room.
Speaking to reporters at the event, Yeo said the company had grown to providing end solutions and products for its agarwood.
Rural Asset Group began in 2011 with a 2ha plantation in Kelantan and today, it is a multimillion-ringgit business with more than 68ha to its name.
“I felt we needed to upgrade ourselves to benchmark the company against the best there is. We also needed a showroom to showcase the agarwood products we produced because most people cannot believe they are made in Malaysia,” Yeo added.
Jalaluddin had only good words to say about the company as it produces the raw material and downstream agarwood products.
The company produces oils, perfumes, beads, incense, decorative items and even tea.
“Rural Asset is on the right track because there is potential for the agarwood industry.
“Last year, the total export worth for agarwood was only RM15mil compared to the total value for all timber and timber products that was RM40bil for domestic and international export,” he added.
Jalaluddin said the cultivation of agarwood was not confined to the 150,000kg quota reserved for those obtained from the natural forest.
“Every five to 10 years, the Forestry Department will do an inventory on the trees and recommend the amount of agarwood or gaharu we can take.
“The numbers have reduced since three years ago when the amount was 200,000kg,” he stressed.
The only way for the industry to grow is for companies like Rural Asset Group to cultivate more trees and plantations with consistent quality, he added.
Jalaluddin said the value of the wood is in the inoculation process which requires research and development.
He was impressed by the inoculation process that Rural Asset Group was developing for its trees that results in quality agarwood.
“I was made to understand that the company has two scientists in employment.
“By having a lab and integrated processes, the company is also providing job opportunities for professionals,” he added.
During the launch, guests, partners and industry players also witnessed the exchange of legal documents between several parties and the Rural Asset Group for additional plantation, export and supply as well as the production of a book on the benefits of agarwood in traditional Chinese medicine.