KOTA BARU: Kelantan plans to consolidate its position as a hub for the agarwood (gaharu) industry by offering its trees to researchers and investors, keen to pursue the commercialising of its bio-products.
State Economic Planning committee chairman Datuk Husam Musa said the incentives would be available through the state-owned integrated agarwood plantation in Gua Musang where 404ha is set aside.
Researchers and investors can each be allocated up to 0.4ha which can grow 400 agarwood trees to conduct their research or to boost production for some 200 bio-products from the tree, Husam said.
Husam said this after opening a seminar on the agarwood industry which was organised by Agarwood Industry Sdn Bhd at Grand Riverview Hotel here.
He said the state is keen to acquire expertise on how to produce bio-products besides the traditional use of extracting its resin which can be converted into a perfume most sought after by Arabs because it is alcohol-free.
Investors stand to earn RM2mil in returns after 10 years if they pursue the commercialism aspects of growing agarwood trees, Husam claimed.
"Kelantan's desire to become a hub for agarwood is not an exercise in daydreaming. We are serious and would offer the necessary incentives to position the state as a leader in this industry.''
Earlier, Husam said the state has an inventory of about 1.6 million agarwood trees of various species of which many are growing in the wild at forest reserves and plantations.
He assured investors and researchers that the state is committed towards sustainability of the industry and would not condone the unnecessary chopping of trees to meet the demand for timber or resin.
Most importantly, the state sees the industry as an area where the rural community can participate to supplement their income from the staple salaries of farmers, loggers and traders, Husam said.
He also announced that he would leave for a working visit to Iran, Kuwait and UAE on Saturday to promote the state besides luring investors for among other things, the agarwood industry.
Agarwood or just Agar is a resinous heartwood from Aquilaria trees species, and its large evergreen trunks are native to South-East Asia.