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SPEECH BY
YB TERESA KOK
MINISTER OF PRIMARY INDUSTRIES

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON AGARWOOD,
INCENSE AND FRAGRANCES 2019

WESTIN HOTEL, KUALA LUMPUR
10 JULY 2019 (WEDNESDAY), 9.00 AM

Mr. Ravi Muthayah
Deputy Secretary General of Ministry of Primary Industries

YB Tuan Wong Tack
Chairman
Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB)

Mr. Deepak Goyal
Managing Director
Incense Media, International Agarbatti & Perfume Expo of India

Representative from Ministries, Government Agencies and Private Sectors,

Members of the Media
Distinguish Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

Good Morning, Salam Sejahtera and Salam Sayangi Malaysiaku,

First of all, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Incense Media and Agarwood Entrepreneurs Association (GAHARU) in collaboration with the Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB) on the invitation to officiate the International Conference on Agarwood, Incense and Fragrances 2019. I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to Incense Media for selecting Malaysia this year for this big event.

2. This conference is an important event in the effort to advance the agarwood industry in Malaysia and to accelerate the development of the Malaysian Agarwood industry as well as to share the latest information to Karas growers and gaharu entrepreneurs. It is hoped that the presence of the company representative from various countries will inspire agarwood entrepreneurs in Malaysia and have a better understanding of the properties of gaharu and its usage for application. This event is also in line with MTIB's Karas and Gaharu Development Action Plan 2011-2021.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

3. Agarwood also known as gaharu, is a non-timber forest product. It has been used as incense, perfume and medicine for hundreds of years. Today, the gaharu international trade involves hundreds of tonnes worth millions of US dollars annually. Due to population growth and lucrative of gaharu industries, the demand for gaharu has increased over the past 30 years. This rise in demand appears to have led to a decrease in supplies, leading to increasing prices and worries about the commodity’s future supplies. Furthermore, there are fears that gaharu trade may lead to the extinction of some gaharu-producing species.

4. In order to assure the sustainability of gaharu trade, the gaharu producer and consumers countries agreed to put in place controls to restrict the quantity of gaharu trade. This was done through listing the gaharu species in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). In addition, the International Trade Act on Endangered Species 2008 (Act 686) which was enacted in July 2010, listed Karas/Gaharu in the Third Schedule of the timber species. This involves all local entrepreneurs, plantation owners, growers and individuals producing artificial propagated plants for commercial trading purposes subject to the Act. With this, they have to be registered with MTIB for Peninsular and Sabah region, and Sarawak Forest Department for Sarawak region.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

5. The development of the agarwood industry in Malaysia has been implemented for several years. The industry started to grow rapidly in 2005 with an increase i of plantations in Malaysia. Currently Malaysia is the fifth country to export agarwood products after Thailand, Indonesia, India and Vietnam. The Government in collaboration with the industry is constantly working to promote the growth of the agarwood industry through development and R & D programs.

6. To date, a total of 194 companies and individuals have registered with MTIB with a total plantation area of 1,864 hectares and 1.6 million Karas trees. The export of agarwood products has been steadily increased throughout the years in tandem with the increasing demand both domestically and internationally. To ensure the sustainability of agarwood industry, MPI through MTIB will continue to multiply efforts and implement various initiatives to promote and expand the market and the development of agarwood industry domestically and globally.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

7. In 2018, the export of agarwood products amounted to 38.6 tonnes with a value of RM 9.93 million. Of these, 32.5 tonnes consist of woodchip, block and wood piece exported to major markets such as Taiwan, Singapore and Vietnam. While 30 litres of extracted agarwood oil exported to France, Singapore and Italy.

8. As I conclude my speech, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Incense Media, Malaysian Timber Industrial Board (MTIB) and Agarwood Entrepreneur’s Association (GAHARU) for the effort to organize this conference in Malaysia. It is hoped that this conference will sustain trade relations and widen the market access for the Malaysian agarwood industry.

9. It is hoped that with this conference, extensive and useful proposals to the agarwood industry can be forwarded to the Government for consideration.

On that note, I am pleased to officiate the International Conference on Agarwood, Incense and Fragrances 2019.

I wish the best to all participants and speakers.

Ministry of Primary Industries
10 July 2019