At its new, purpose-built distillery and factory in Johor, Malaysia, Asia Plantation Capital recently hosted plantation clients, along with asset and wealth managers from France, Germany and Switzerland.
Opened in February 2015, the facility is due to be fully operational later this year, and will be the largest distillery and processing plant in Southeast Asia for the much sought after agarwood and its associated products.
Demand for agarwood has been growing across the globe in recent years, whether in the form of aromatic oil (Oud), fragrance woodchips, or wood sculptures, and is now the most expensive forestry product (on a per kilogramme basis) in the market today.
Significant illegal logging has taken place in the past to meet this ever-increasing demand, resulting in the severe depletion of the Aquilaria tree (the source of agarwood), to the point of near extinction.
Asia Plantation Capital is fully committed to ensuring the sustainability of the species, and this commitment has focused the company’s attention on the critical aspects of the cultivation and harvesting of the trees. Asia Plantation Capital has designed and established a number of programmes with sustainability and environmental awareness in mind, including CITES compliance (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), whereby all agarwood products that are shipped internationally are tracked to ensure that they are legally sourced.
Other notable programmes include extensive research and development to maximise the yield of the tree so that no part of the harvest is wasted, as well as a commitment to replace every Aquilaria tree that is harvested with at least one other tree (usually more), to ensure the survival of the species. Asia Plantation Capital has played a vital role in the reintroduction of the species to various parts of Asia where the tree stocks were depleted, such as Hong Kong and Sri Lanka.
“The tour with Asia Plantation Capital to the plantations, offices and boutiques was very informative,” said Ms Weiss, a client from Germany. “For me, showing the process from planting trees to distilling the oil and experiencing the perfume made from the oil was impressive, and I realised instantly that the aroma of the wood and the oil is remarkable.”
The visitors were full of praise for what they saw and experienced, many coming away with a more in-depth understanding of the processes required and the efforts undertaken by Asia Plantation Capital to deliver a sustainable product of the highest quality.
“My tour of Asia Plantation Capital’s operations from Northern to East Thailand, to Johor and the Singapore head office, along with the outstanding Fragrance Du Bois boutique at the Fullerton hotel, was very agreeable,” said Dr Daniel Delevaux MD, the Republic of Madagascar’s Honorary Consul to Thailand since 1996. “It was a fruitful trip, and certainly enhanced my knowledge of Agarwood and Oud. I would like to thank Asia Plantation Capital’s very professional team for being so nice, and organising everything so perfectly.”
“At Asia Plantation Capital we are committed not only to producing agroforestry products of the highest natural quality,” said Mr Steve Watts, CEO Asia Pacific, Asia Plantation Capital. “We also ensure sustainability in these crops, and we work hard to promote environmental awareness. It’s important for us to know that everything we do works to the benefit of society as a whole. We are delighted to host visitors at our facilities across Asia, and take great pride in helping to educate interested parties about the extraordinary virtues of the Aquilaria tree that gives us agarwood. The whole process,” he concluded, “is to spread the message that sustainability is critical for the future of our world.”
The factory and distillery in Johor, Malaysia, is part of a US$50 million investment by Asia Plantation Capital to expand operations in the country over the next few years. The company is in the process of acquiring plantations, through both acquisitions and partnerships, to increase its footprint in Malaysia. Also in the pipeline is the establishment of an Aquilaria nursery and research centre in Southern Malaysia, in conjunction with several leading agarwood academics, along with the company’s own scientific research board.