A new memorandum of understanding (MoU) seeking to inject momentum into the local agarwood industry was signed yesterday between First Capital Global (FCG), a Thai enterprise, and its local partners – Thoub Chankrassna Khmer and Nuon Bonna, a plantation owner.
As per the agreement, FCG will invest in the creation of a plantation composed of one million agarwood-producing trees and a processing factory in Preah Sihanouk province.
The project, scheduled to begin in 9 months, will produce premium agarwood oil and derivative products for exportation.
The MoU was signed by Sean Goh, CEO of FCG, Keo Sokunthea, director of Thoub Chankrassna Khmer, and Nuon Bonna, who owns a plantation in Preah Sihanouk province.
Mr Goh said his company has vast experience producing agarwood oil and related products in China, Thailand and Laos.
“During the first phase of our strategy, we will invest $100 million in planting one million agarwood-producing trees.
“Six months later, during the second phase, we will build a factory in Sihanoukville to produce agarwood oil,” he said.
Mr Goh did not disclose the amount that will be invested in the agarwood-processing factory, but pointed out that it will be equipped with the latest German technology to produce oil of the highest quality.
The plant will produce perfumes as well as medicinal, skincare and body-treatment products.
“We can produce international-standard medicinal products for Japan, perfumes for Dubai and the Emirates and a variety of agarwood products for China,” he said, explaining that China will be the biggest market, capable of absorbing most of their production.
Ms Bonna, said she now has 200 hectares of land with more than 200,000 agarwood-producing trees in Preah Sihanouk province
“Before we didn’t have a specific market, but today we have FCG and Thoub Chankrassna Khmer as partners.
“This is a good project with a real market and the latest technology, so we are seeking governmental support,” Ms Bonna said.
She explained that agarwood-producing trees are also grown in Koh Kong, Kep, Kampot, and Pailin provinces, with one million specimens planted across the country.
Commerce Minister Pan Sorasak said the agreement is good news for a sector with very limited exports, arguing that Cambodia has yet to fulfill its potential in the industry.
“Our markets for agarwood products are primarily the United Arab Emirates and China,” Mr Sorasak said.
“We continue our work to boost exports in this sector.
“Now, we have many small factories that produce incense from agarwood-producing trees, but we want to expand and produce agarwood oil and perfumes,” he said.