Father Sez

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Our rubber smallholding – considering growing some Gaharu trees

Tuesday May 20th, 2008 by fathersez


Picture Credit: My son. The tall scrawny looking trees are the 1.5 year old rubber saplings. 

Yesterday, my son and I visited our rubber smallholding. 

The rubber saplings are growing well. They still have about 3.5 years or so, before they can be tapped for their latex. I have mentioned earlier that the land is hilly and we have cut terraces on which the rubber seedlings were planted. We originally planted about 2,100 trees. About 200 trees have died and new ones have been planted in their place.

The latest “census” indicates that another 300 trees can be planted in the spaces available. The walk around the smallholding was quite a tiring one, but the spectacular view from the top made the whole thing worthwhile. I had a deep feeling of satisfaction when I reflected back on the work that has been done on the land since mid 2006 (when my wife and I sighted the land for the first time.) 

And though this was not the first time, my son has climbed up this hill, somehow I felt a stronger sense of belonging and responsibility from him. 

Recently some friends of mine have talked about planting gaharu or agarwood trees. These trees are prized for their resin which is used in the manufacture of perfume. 

Some additional information on the tree is shown here.

Our Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) sells these seedlings. I talked with one of the research scientists at FRIM and he mentioned that they had a waiting list for the seedlings till 2010!!! 

He also mentioned that the trees should be inoculated (wow!….I’ll find out about this later) when they are 5 years old, and they can be harvested when they are 7 years and later. And he also mentioned that the later the better. 

It seems that commercial planting of gaharu trees is a big business in Malaysia. So there are also a number of private planters from whom we can buy the seedlings.  

I’ll discuss this with my wife and then craft out a plan to buy and to plant the trees. And then I’ll follow up with an investment appraisal. For now, we’ll just plant for fun.

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5 Comments for “Our rubber smallholding – considering growing some Gaharu trees”

On May 21, 2008
At 11:31 am

I love all these posts about your family’s ventures! They are so exotic to me. (And not just because I live in Los Angeles, where anything other than a dog or cat would qualify as exotic!) It’s such a pleasure to read about these ventures as investments, too, instead of the usual stocks and bonds that I think of as my only options. I wish you much luck with these trees!

On May 21, 2008
At 3:16 pm

Thanks, CFO.

Perhaps growing trees for their commercial value can be compared to buying discounted bonds, where we don’t receive any interest, but the full face value is paid upon maturity.

Hopefully the trees (and the comparative bond issuer) thrive.


by Natasha
On June 18, 2008
At 1:14 pm

hi fathersez, stumbled upon u’r page, cos I’ve been thinking of venturing into rearing goats too, as well as rubber actually, (have some land left by my late father), so your blog is interesting to me!

On June 18, 2008
At 2:28 pm

If the land is just idle, it’ll be very good of you to try to do something on the land. I am sure your late father would be proud if you did.

You have not mentioned the size of the land. If it is 5 acres and above, it would be a good idea to grow oil palm and grow bananas till the op trees mature. Once the op trees are big, then you can have your goat rearing too.

I am no expert at this, but try to read up as much as you can. The Jabatan Pertanian and Haiwan people are of great help.

Please let me know if I can be of any help.

by Natasha
On June 19, 2008
At 5:34 pm

Thanks fathersez. The land’s abt 13 acres with rubber trees already, but according to one uncle the trees are very old,(30 yrs plus?), and the land is ‘very far.’ Still, I’ve been badgering my oldest aunty every weekend for the past month to come with me there since she already knows where it is… she promised this sat! :)

I did go to the rubber department, but the guy wasn’t too helpful..all he said was that they USED to give subsidies to small holders but now they don’t. I explained to him that i didn’t neccesarily just want a subsidy, but info, -like people who might buy rubberwood (if the rubber trees have no more latex) and costs of seedlings..he basically told me to find an independant contractor..(hmm…ok..)
As for the goats, was thinking of trying out rearing them near the house. (Since the land are is (quite) big) I thought less likely to be stolen? …I’m just waiting for the Jabatan Haiwan to get more of their little booklets on goat-rearing for some pre-lim info!
Thks again!

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