Mr. Robert Seidel, CEO of Essential Oils, of Portland, Oregon, USA, shown here with Than Aung and Kyaw Win from Agarwin-Keystone. Mr Seidel will be instrumental to the co-op's efforts to build in distillation capacity in Putao.
A sample of not-too-shabby wild agar wood in raw form, collected in Nawngmon township, north of Putao.
Agar wood is a product produced by trees of the Aquilaria species, which range throughout south and southeast Asia. Over the past 10 years, several companies and groups in Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, India, and of course Myanmar -have all tried to cultivate these trees.
The most valuable species of these trees, Aquilaria Malaccensis, Crassna, and Agalocha, all have the Putao region of northern Kachin State as their natural range. We have identified, but not characterized fully a different variety of the tree growing in Putao district, which is also home to wild stands of Malaccensis and Crassna.
Healthy Aquilaria trees do not produce agar wood. Usually the valuable darker woods carrying resins form as an immune response to some sort of poorly understood pathogenic challenge to the tree's immune system. Generally it is thought to be a combined attack by fungi, bacteria, insects which provoke the trees to produce agar wood resins as part of defending against infection.
For the above reason, healthy trees cultivated by human intercession must be deliberately infected in order to produce marketable agar wood. Working with Agarwin-Keystone, the co-op headed by Snowland Agarwood will offer inoculation services to the members, as well as reliable cultivation assistance, and access to equipment.
Otherwise, see the wikipedia entry on agar wood: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agarwood
-This way, you, the gentle reader, will not find yourself bored by our explanation of what this product is all about.
IMPORTANT TO NOTE: Agar wood and all of its derivatives is a Class II controlled substance regulated by the CITES treaty on trafficking in endangered species of flora and fauna. Agarwin-Keystone Co., Ltd has been at the very forefront of efforts to lobby the Myanmar Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry, to issue binding implementing laws for Myanmar planters to comply with in order to certify their agar wood as originating from sustainable sources. A key component of the co-op's activities will be to survey each member's tree lots in order to document compliance.
The Putao Snowland Agarwood Co., Ltd will offer raw agar wood, leaves, flowers, seeds, seedlings, and also saplings from 3 Aquilaria species as part of its line of business.
More importantly, the co-op will build a distillery facility near Zion, in the south-central part of the valley. This facility will use both modern state-of-the-art and older proven technology to produce oudh, the oil derived from agar wood.
What About Agar Wood?