Villagers smell success in the scented wood industry in Hainan, China

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HAIKOU (XINHUA) — A huge argument broke out between Guan Wanhou and his father.
“Certainly not! Agarwood making is a craft passed down from generation to generation within the family, how can I share our secrets with other villagers,” said Guan Yiguang, the old Guan, refusing the his son’s suggestion to teach their techniques to other villagers.

“Times have changed! If you want to be successful in this business, you can’t work alone,” his son explained.

Agarwood, better known as chen xiang in China, is known to be fragrant and have medicinal effects in traditional Chinese medicine. It is often used for perfume, incense and souvenir carvings.

The Guan family resides in Qinbiao Village, Ledong Li Autonomous County, Hainan Province (southern China). The family excels in the cultivation of agarwood.

Guan Wanhou is a sixth-generation heir to the craft of agarwood making in his family. In 2006, he retired from the army and returned to his hometown to pass on his father’s trade.

Years passed, but Guan’s wish to become big in the business didn’t come true, especially since the country banned the harvesting of wild agarwood.

“I felt like I was working alone,” he said.

Junior Guan went to ask why the local villagers were reluctant to grow aquilaria.
“They told me they didn’t know the right techniques for making agarwood and they didn’t want to spend too much time on something they weren’t sure about,” he said. declared.

Guan then began to convince his father to share their craft of making agarwood with the locals so that more people would join them. Elder Guan argued strongly with his son, but eventually relented.

“I told my father that agarwood has a huge market and the supply is dwarfed by the demand,” said junior Guan.

Guan Wanhou then began to persuade local villagers to plant aquilaria and promised to teach them the techniques of making agarwood.

Some local residents agreed and gained skills in planting and caring for trees and making agarwood.

With Guan Wanhou’s help, the villagers have grown about 50,000 aquilaria, but the planting area is still “below expectations”, Guan said.

“The main reason is the lack of land,” Guan said, adding that he plans to encourage villagers to plant trees in front and behind their houses or grow trees in existing fields such as fields. rubber trees.

“We have about 800 families in the village, and if we can grow the trees around each family and along the roads in the village, we will have at least 200,000 aquilaria,” he said.

The trees are evergreen and can contribute to local greening efforts, he said.

“If we grow agarwood from all the trees we grow, we will surely reap a good harvest,” Guan said. “It will be really exciting!”

The Hainan provincial government is encouraging the development of the agarwood industry, with a work plan in 2019 advocating the planting of aquilaria trees to help people earn more income. Currently, the province has about 10,000 hectares of trees. More than 1,250 companies have registered in Hainan in the field.

Guan plans to grow 250,000 aquilaria seedlings this year and give some away to local residents for free.

“I hope the industry really takes root in the village,” he said. “I can not wait.”

China has cultivated up to 67,000 hectares of agarwood, which produces agarwood, but quality agarwood remains limited, and about 80% of the agarwood used in China comes from imports, according to Cheng Qian of the China Council for Environmental Promotion and Forestry, citing the latest figures.

Cheng said measures such as detailing industrial standards and strengthening market surveillance should be taken to make breakthroughs in the development of the industry.

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