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Agarwood products, a top forex earner

by damith
November 26, 2023 1:20 am 0 comment 3.8K views

By Shirajiv Sirimane
Kumara Dharmasena

From a famed test player to a highly respected umpire and match referee bringing the much needed global focus and reputation for local cricket, Kumar Dharmasena is now making a far bigger contribution to the Sri Lankan economy through his Agarwood Plantation venture, project Pintanna.

It was in 2009 when Dharmasena received a few Agarwood (known as Gyrinops Walla) seeds from a business magnate in India and when he returned he planted them in Sri Lana. “As I was already an owner of a large estate in Ratnapura with tea, rubber, cinnamon and pepper I saw the value of Agarwood and decided to invest in it.”

“We kept on growing Agarwood, which is endemic to Sri Lanka, from 2009 to 2020, in Pintanna Estate and also engaged in extensive research on the art of distilling oud oil. This led to the established Sri Lanka’s first ever oud oil distilling factory.”

In 2020, Dharmasena received the licence from the Government to become the first and only legal exporter of Agarwood adding new high forex generating product to Sri Lankan export catalogue.

In 2021, he set up his second company Pintanna Oud (Pvt) Ltd. dedicated to the export of Agarwood products to the world.

He said that due to a request by a former Industries Minister who requested to get the communities also involved in a profit-sharing model we also launched ‘Agarwood Trees’ investment scheme.”

Agarwood is a commercially valued tree recognised by many thriving industries such as perfumery, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and aromatherapy.

Today this has become a much sought after investment option by Sri Lankans.

World’s first AGA tea

He said that as the investors had to wait until a tree matures, through their unique R&D they have now introduced the world’s first tea made of the leaves of the tree.”

“Local and international researchers have tested and certified this product and we will soon launch this to the local and international markets from next year. This new tea will also offer new investors in our Agarwood plantations a regular ‘pay’ at regular intervals without having to wait till maturity.”

“The product of Aga Tea, which is beneficial for many diseases including diabetes, has been introduced to Sri Lanka. From one successful tree that we grow organically, we can cut about five kilos of ‘Aga dalu’ per year. It is going to the international market as a separate product.”

“We extend an opportunity for you to invest in these carefully nurtured Agarwood trees within our estates, promising unparalleled returns unlike any other investment avenue.”

“We have three branches in Matara, Galle and Maharagama. Any citizen can invest in an agarwood plant in these branches. You can plant a tree or two even in your own garden.”

“After the tree has grown, our company will assist you in all work starting from grafting and extracting the oil, and we give them the right amount.”

Rs. 1 billion investment

Dharmasena said that they also invested over Rs. 1 billion to create and modernise Sri Lanka’s first and only oud oil distillation factory, constructed with cutting-edge technology.

Manager Operations  Kanishka Chamani

Manager Operations Kanishka Chamani

Today there are more than 60 large vessels cooking oil every day and over 200 employees dedicated to manufacturing the liquid gold. The factory includes a research laboratory, rain water harvesting roofs, water cooling system for vessels and natural water supply from nearby water streams.

The export of oud oil specially to the gulf is bringing in high forex to Sri Lanka and we hope to double this income in the coming years.

He said that they also make several by-products from the remains of Agarwood and these include incense sticks and scented Agarwood coins which can be burned to get a rich aroma. “We will provide some of the incense sticks free to some places of worship.”

“We are now looking at increasing exports and opening branches overseas.”

He also disclosed that they will also be introducing a high-end perfume named made of agarwood branded as a pet name coined for him for his keenness and motivation in the field.

“We have also reinvested to bring down machinery and novel technology to produce this at our factory in Bulathsinghala.

He said that a unique packaging (bottle) too would be introduced. He wanted to have a Sinhala name taken to the world and this was the reason behind ‘Unanduwa’.

“It will be a high quality local perfume that can compete with other Aga perfumes in the world.”

Dharmasena said that all his plantations and products use 100% organic fertiliser and processing methods and this too has been attributed to their success.

Pix: Malan Karunaratne

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