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December 09, 2019

Successful cultivation of agarwood attracts foreign travellers’ attention

 

Japanese tourists observing usage of agarwood. Photo: Soe Myint Aung

The interest of foreign travellers in value-added agarwood is more than that of the past since it can be successfully cultivated and produced in Myanmar and agarwood purchase is on the increase.
Agarwood, aloeswood or gharuwood is a fragrant dark resinous wood used in incense, perfume, and small carvings. It is formed in the heartwood of aquilaria trees when they become infected with a type of mould.
When the stem of aquilaria tree is done to get wounds using sticks, daggers and iron rods, a bulbous growth will appear around the place of wound as a reaction. Later its stem has to be injected with Phaeoaerimoniun parasitica. When it takes three months, its stem has to be chopped and aquilaria can be seen in the shape of strip on the upper and lower parts of the whole tree.
Four-year or five-year aquilaria tree’s stem with 16-inch in circumference has to be injected with Phaeoaerimoniun parasitica from one foot distance above the ground. Aquilaria oil can be produced when it takes one and half years or two years following the injection. Previously, aquilaria oil came into existence only at the place of the injection. Now it is a different matter and it comes into existence along the stem. If aquilaria oil produces less, its price is low. If it produces much, its price is high. Agarwood is a medicinal herb and so foreign travellers take great interest in it. Agarwood purchase is on the increase now. One kg price of agarwood is about US$ 1,000.
The quality of Myanmar’s agarwood is higher than it is in other countries. Singapore, Twiwan, Japan, Thailand and China are the main importers of agarwood from Myanmar. One kilo of first-grade agarwood can fetch between US$ 4,000 and $ 20,000. Since 1995, Aquilaria malaccensis, the primary souece of agarwood, has been listed among potentially threaterned species by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Floara. Myanmar has banned illegal trade on agarwood since 1947. The Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry is planning to reduce the tax on agarwood produced by agarwood farms, according to Myanmar Agarwood Entrepreneurs Association.
If the people who have health problems drink boiled agarwood flowers just like we do plain tea, it does good things for nerve and it adjust blood pressure and it protects us from suffering stroke. Diabetic patients should drink boiled agarwood flowers daily. Aquilaria oil can be used in the making of traditional medicines and it can be used in offering lights to Buddha image. The fragnance of aquilaria ensures good health and longevity.
Now the government officially allows national entrepreneurs to establish agarwood plantations to ensure conservation of valuable Myanma agarwood and sustainable development and the growers are on the increase. Aquilaria trees are being cultivated in regions and states.
“I am selling agarwood sapplings and species seeds. Some growers are worried about whether or not who are buyers and it is attracted by the international community. In real, anyone can grow and officially sell agarwood if official tax payment is given to the government. I would like to invite those wishing to grow agarwood,” said U Aung Zaw Shein who is running Pwint Oo agarwood growing and production in Phaunggyi, Hlegu, Yangon Region.
Visiting Japanese travellers in Yangon primarily bought samples of some aquilaria trees including aquilaria flower from Pwint Oo agarwood growing and production in Yangon on 26 March. Cultivating agarwood trees attracting foreign travellers without hurting ecosystems, we can expect to earn foreign exchanges and provide job opportunities for the people.
By Pwint Thitsar(Translated by Htut Htut (Twantay))

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