Asia Plantation Capital Poised to Develop the Agarwood Industry in Malaysia

SINGAPORE, Aug. 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Asia Plantation Capital (a sustainable plantation company) seeks to develop more opportunities for Agarwood as a beneficial crop in Malaysia.

Asia Plantation Capital at Bio Johor 2014


Asia Plantation Capital at Bio Johor 2014

 

Aquilaria Saplings in Nursery


Aquilaria Saplings in Nursery

Speaking at the biotechnology conference ‘Bio Johor 2014’, Dr Panamas Chetpattananondh (an Associate Professor from the Prince Songkla University in Thailand, and Head of the Scientific Advisory Board at Asia Plantation Capital) presented a plenary paper on the potential for Agarwood in Malaysia. Particular significance was given to the possibilities of utilising the advanced technologies developed by Asia Plantation Capital, and the opportunities that could be created in so doing.

With the value of Oud oil (that which comes from the specially treated wood of the tree), being significantly higher than the value of gold (by a factor of 1.5), the sustainable Agarwood industry is well established in Asia, with Asia Plantation Capital leading the way. The sustainable plantation company is now actively looking to bring their advanced plantation systems to Malaysia.

"Gaharu (Agarwood) is not new to the region and we see many opportunities for its growth in Malaysia. As a leading company in plantation management, we ensure that our agarwood is harvested ethically and sustainably," said Steve Watts – Chief Executive Officer of Asia Plantation Capital Berhad – speaking at the Johor Biotech Conference. "Not only that," he continued, "but we are one of the very few plantation companies to have our products certified by CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) which permits us to trade legally in Agarwood."

Asia Plantation Capital is the main sponsor of the Bio Johor 2014 Biotechnology Conference and Exhibition. APC enjoyed the same privilege last year at the first International Scientific Symposium on Agarwood (ISSA) held in Malaysia, which was organised by Universiti Putra Malaysia.

Agarwood (or Gaharu, as it is more commonly known in Malaysia and Indonesia), comes from the Aquilaria tree – a species native to Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia. What makes Agarwood so highly sought after is the rarity of the fragrant resin contained within. It is produced only when the tree is affected by a certain fungus (or, in the case of trees managed by Asia Plantation Capital, when treated in a specific way).

Oud oil and Oud wood chips have been an integral part of Middle Eastern cultures for centuries, where it is not only used in fragrances, but also in the wood chips burned in homes as incense. In China, Agarwood sculptures are common residential artefacts, and wearing bracelets made of Agarwood beads is fast becoming a popular trend, with recent record prices at auction having been achieved in China for Agarwood pieces.

Globally, Oud is now a major ingredient in the perfume and cosmetic industry, and is used by almost all of the world’s leading, luxury fragrance brands. Asia Plantation Capital’s partner company, Fragrance Du Bois, recently had one of its perfumes shortlisted as a top 10 finalist in the Art and Olfaction Awards (the fragrance industry ceremony held in Los Angeles, USA) matching up with and surpassing competitors from around the world.

The health benefits of Agarwood have been well documented, and have been a mainstay of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for hundreds of years. Agarwood is renowned to be beneficial in the treatment of digestive system disorders, the relief of spasms and pain, as well as tightness in the chest, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and asthma.

Recent research has shown that, potentially, Agarwood has even more medicinal benefits, with the oil having been found to have sedative effects, while a component shows promise for use in the development of an anti-cancer drug. Antioxidant properties have also been found in the extract of Agarwood leaves, which may also be used for the treatment of stomach complaints and skin infections.

"I have spent nine years researching and developing the extraction methods of Agarwood oil to produce better quality oil, and it has made me realise that there is always more to be discovered with this amazing tree," said Dr Chetpattananondh. She continued, "The sustainable plantation of Agarwood trees could be very valuable to the Malaysian agriculture industry. One significant advantage is that Agarwood grows very well when partnered with banana and other interpolated crops and trees." The Asia Plantation Capital Scientific Advisory Board is now working with academics across Asia to develop and produce pharmaceuticals from Agarwood for wider use in traditional medicine.

All species of the Aquilaria tree are classified under CITES as endangered species – due to extensive and illegal logging and harvesting for Oud oil. Asia Plantation Capital’s Oud oil and woodchip products are all legally certified under the CITES agreement, ensuring that the strictest ethical and legal standards are upheld in the planting, growing and harvesting of Agarwood and Oud oil.

Moving forward, Asia Plantation Capital has plans to explore further opportunities by acquiring plantations (or partnering existing plantation owners) to develop Agarwood in Malaysia. Over the last 10 years, Asia Plantation Capital has developed advanced proprietary inoculation systems that have been implemented in Thailand, Cambodia and India (with proven results) as well as a new, patented system which, over a longer time frame, will stimulate resin production throughout the entire tree.

Notes to Editors:

About Asia Plantation Capital

Asia Plantation Capital is an owner and operator of a diverse range of commercial plantation and farming businesses across the Asia-Pacific region, and globally, is part of the Asia Plantation Capital Group of associated companies. Its focus is on multicultural and diverse plantation projects geared to the domestic and commercial demands of the countries in which they operate. Working closely with, and supporting local communities, is an underlying core principle of the APC business, providing social and cultural support, as well as investment, to move these communities away from deforestation and illegal logging activities, previously seen as a main source of income in some regions of Asia. Established officially in 2008 (although operating privately since 2002) the group now has plantation and agricultural projects on four continents with operational projects at various stages in Thailand, Malaysia, China, Laos, India, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Mozambique, The Gambia, North America and Europe.

Promoting the use of certified wood is the best way of preventing deforestation, thereby protecting biodiversity and combatting poverty in the tropical rainforest regions. For the yachting sector, which strives for excellence and which is already involved in environmental efforts, this is also a way of ensuring that no wood from illegal logging is used.

About Fragrance Du Bois

Fragrance Du Bois is a niche luxury perfume house working closely with sustainable plantations inAsia, bringing exciting new 100% organic Oud oil based fragrances to exclusive markets worldwide. Sustainably sourcing the finest raw materials across the globe, working with French perfumers to create a full range of products, and also providing bespoke fragrance services, Fragrance Du Bois is personal luxury with a conscience. With exclusive fragrance lounges around the world, in Dubai, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, Fragrance Du Bois creates only the finest experience in bespoke perfumery.

Fragrance Du Bois is known as Parfums Du Bois in France and in non-French speaking markets, as Fragrance Du Bois.

Asia Plantation Capital Pte. Ltd. 50 Collyer Quay, #06-05 OUE Bayfront, Singapore 049321
Tel: +65 6222 3386 | Fax: +65 6221 2197 | Email: pr@asiaplantationcapital.com