August 20, 2016

MAEA to cooperate with agarwood farmers to protect forests, fight poverty

Agarwood trees are seen at a plantation.
Agarwood trees are seen at a plantation.

THE Myanmar Agarwood Entrepreneurs Association is planning to provide assistance to farmers growing agarwood trees as part of its effort to fight poverty in the country.
“We will start to provide plants and technology to farmers who have land but no capital to grow agarwood in June and July 2016 in Yangon and Bago regions,” said U Thaung Nyunt, the general secretary of the MAEA.
When the trees are fully grown, both sides will share the profits, he added.
According to the MAEA, the quality of Myanmar’s agarwood is higher than it is in other countries, and its price is high compared to foreign market prices.
Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand and China are the main importers of agarwood from Myanmar.
According to agarwood farmers in Myanmar, one kilo of first-grade agarwood can fetch between US$4,000 and $20,000.
Since 1995, Aquilaria malaccensis, the primary source of agarwood, has been listed among potentially threatened species by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
Myanmar has banned illegal trading on agarwood since 1947.
The Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry is planning to reduce the tax on agarwood produced by agarwood farms.
The ministry is working to set the tax on agarwood produced at local farms for export at less than 25 per cent of the local price, according to the ministry.
The ministry has encouraged commercial plantations of agarwood in Myanmar to protect wild Aquilaria agallocha and Aquilaria malaccenis, two sources of agarwood, as many naturally growing trees in forests have been cut down by poachers.
Farms that have registered with the ministry and have paid the tax on agarwood are allowed to export the wood, which is one of the most expensive forest products in the world.
It is highly valued as an ingredient in perfumes.
There are about 50 million agarwood trees growing on 50,000 acres of private agarwood plantations in Myanmar, according to MAEA.

Ko Moe, Aye Min Soe


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