SINGAPORE, May 19, 2015 /PRNewswire – The story of sustainable Oud production, much like the substance itself, is full of mystery and myth. Produced from the rare Agarwood tree – a species whose harvesting in the wild was banned by CITES in 2000 due to illegal logging and endangerment – Oud has been an integral part of cultural and religious ceremonies for thousands of years, to say nothing of its renowned medicinal properties.
One company that is making its mark in helping to save an endangered species by turning science fiction into “science fact,” is Asia Plantation Capital (APC).
With almost 10 years of innovative research and development into the best and most consistent ways of inducing the production of Oud in trees, APC has not only rescued the Agarwood tree from the brink of extinction, but is also ensuring its continued survival and propagation in its managed plantations.
APC’s patented technologies, conceived by its Scientific Advisory Board (made up of leading academics and industry experts), have tested superbly in recent trials in both India and Malaysia, replicating the excellent results that have been achieved in Thailand over the last several years. APC now has proven systems in place in India, Thailand, Malaysia and China, all the way through to the commercial scale production of end consumer products that have helped the industry grow into one that is legal and fully regulated.
Asia Plantation Capital and partners inspecting the inoculated trees in India
In India, Asia Plantation Capital has been working with the country’s largest commercial Agarwood growers, Vanadurgi Agarwood, for nearly two years. Vanadurgi Agarwood is a public sector company comprising a collective of thousands of small regional growers and shareholders. It now owns and/or managers more than 6,000 plantations in southern India.
Current trials using Asia Plantation Capital’s proprietary inoculation systems have proven successful, with trees showing consistent rates of “infection,” leading to the production of Oud. In addition, APC’s distillation team is now preparing to install in India its proprietary distillation systems and processes that are revolutionising the industry in terms of the consistency and quality of oils and resins produced.
“We have been very pleased with the support from Asia Plantation Capital in helping us determine the best systems we can utilise in India,” said Dharmendra Kumar, Founder of the Vanadurgi Group. “Based on current plans and subject to the successful harvesting of the current trees, we plan to use the inoculation systems on up to 10,000 trees next spring. We also look forward to working with APC on the installation of their pilot distillation systems, and may well introduce the technologies they have developed to our large-scale processing facility. Later this year, we are planning to visit their new factory in Johor, Malaysia.”
Barry Rawlinson CEO of Asia Plantation Capital was quoted as saying, “We are proud to be working with such inspirational groups as Vanadurgi. Their leadership and values in terms of helping the rural growers and communities to develop and safeguard this industry are very much aligned with our own. Like Vanadurgi, we believe in a transparent approach that will work to the benefit of all concerned. We are delighted with the commercial steps forward that have been taken, and the ongoing investment in the best research and development teams that have created a genuine ‘soil to oil’ business model. This will result in commercial scale benefits for both large and small growers across Southeast Asia and on the Indian subcontinent.”
Mr Rawlinson concluded, “The global demand for Oud and its associated products is stable and growing exponentially, and it’s important that we achieve consistent standards across the industry to guarantee quality and sustainability. In due course this will feed through to all the rural economies in which plantations are located.”
Inoculating the Aquilaria trees in Malaysia.
In Malaysia the systems used by the company, as in Thailand, are offering possibly some of the most exciting developments currently seen in the industry. Due to the exceptional climate in terms of year round rainfall and humidity, the company’s trials in Malaysia have proven so successful that the group has recently announced major expansion plans that include new plantations and factories in the country. Asia Plantation Capital has also made its proprietary inoculation, processing, and end products distribution systems available to other smaller growers and plantations, leading to several joint ventures and licensing agreements within Malaysia. Commercial scale harvesting is scheduled to start in the early part of 2016.
“Our forestry and agronomy teams have been, quite frankly, stunned at the rate of infection within trees that has been achieved in Malaysia using our systems,” said Steve Watts, Asia Plantation Capital’s CEO in Malaysia. “This is due in no small part to the exceptional climatic conditions and soil quality that certain regions of Malaysia present. We don’t want to make any wild claims at this stage, but clearly our systems are well suited to the conditions found in Malaysia.”
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About Asia Plantation Capital
- US$ 600 million – combined value of assets owned and under management
- US$ 53.5 million – turnover in the last financial year
- US$ 100 million – turnover forecast for current financial year
- 2,000,000 – Aquilaria trees today, on Agarwood plantations.
Asia Plantation Capital (APC) is the owner and operator of a diverse range of commercial plantation and farming businesses across the Asia-Pacific region and around the world, and 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 it operates. 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, Myanmar, Vietnam, North America and Europe.
Promoting the use of sustainable and certified wood is the best way of preventing deforestation, protecting biodiversity, and combatting poverty in the tropical rainforest regions. For the yachting sector (a major user of teak) 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.