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Tuesday
Jul312007

Malaysia takes steps to ensure gaharu trade is sustainable

The Star's Hilary Chew presents an in-depth review on the growing trade in gaharu, the aromatic resin from Aquilaria trees.

Tuesday July 31, 2007
Safeguarding an asset

By HILARY CHIEW

Malaysia is taking steps to ensure that the trade in gaharu is sustainable.

GAHARU, the aromatic resin from Aquilaria trees, was previously regarded as worthless woodchips but authorities are quickly realising their value and are tightening relevant rules.

States in Peninsular Malaysia have been told to keep a close eye on extraction of the heartwood by emphasising on enforcement of Section 15 of the National Forestry Act 1984, which requires any removal of the valuable product to be accompanied with a removal pass.

The latest move by Peninsular Malaysia Forestry Department is to develop a uniform grading system for the fragrant resin. Deputy director-general (planning and development) Datuk Dahlan Taha says the absence of a standardised grade has hampered administration and regulation of the non-timber forest product. 

“The 10% royalty payment is currently based on weight and not on the quality. The government is losing out on revenue collection. Hence, we organised a workshop in June and produced a grading system. 

“We are recommending four grades: A Super, A, B and C. The proposed system will be tabled at the next state forestry directors’ conference for consideration and adoption next month. Before that, we will discuss the matter with our Sabah and Sarawak counterparts in the hope that we can agree on a national grading system,” says Dahlan. 

http://thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp?file=/2007/7/31/lifefocus/18301419

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