Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Non Timber Forest Products Manufacturing and Marketing with Special Reference to Aromatic Oils

Abstract of a presentation conducted by
T Venukasan
Department of Forestry and Environmental Science
University of Sri Jayewardenpura, Sri Lanka

Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) are any product or service other than timber that is produced in forests. They include fruits and nuts, vegetables, fish and game, medicinal plants, resins, essences and a range of barks and fibres such as bamboo, rattans, and a host of other palms and grasses. Here forest products can be classified into two main pats timber and non-timber forest products where scope of this study remains at essential oils mainly focusing on Agarwood and Sandalwood.

Agarwood is aromatic, dark, fragrant resinous substance that is produced by certain plant members of family Thymaleaceae including specially Gyrinops and Aquilaria trees. It has a high demand in globally and considered as the most expensive wood in the world. Agarwood resin formation due to natural reasons is rare and slow. Therefore resin formation is induced at commercial scale using different techniques. Both the quantity and quality of Agarwood resins is dependent on the inducement technique and therefore the use of the right method is vital to increase the product quality and income. Sandalwood oil is extracted from wood and roots of the tree. Sandalwood oil has a characteristic sweet, woody odour which is widely employed in the fragrance industry, but more particularly in the higher-priced perfumes. And also it is used in aromatherapy, cosmetic industry and to prepare soaps due to the antimicrobial activity. Unlike other aromatic wood they retain their fragrance for decades.

Citronella oil production can be highly promoted among local communities though it has been declined as it makes high profits in international market. Citronella oil is a source of important perfumery chemicals which find extensive use in soap, perfumery, cosmetic and flavouring industries. Leaves of Citronella plant are distilled to obtain valuable oil. It is a common mosquito repellent and also used in indigenous medicine as well as in flavouring food and alcoholic drinks in certain countries.

When considering the international market of aromatic oils, the current global value of the Agarwood trade is USD 6-12 billion. The annual supply of all forms of good quality Agarwood is about 6,000 MT which is 40% of the actual demand. Current market leaders in exportation of Sandalwood oil are India and Indonesia, while United States and France are the two largest importers of Indian Sandalwood oil. Although illegal logging is a major problem faced by the local industry, establishment of commercial S. album and Aquilaria plantations have recently become popular among the private sector. When Citronella oil is considered, Indonesia and China are the current suppliers for the global market. With proper technology and government support, Sri Lanka has the opportunity to become a potential exporter of Citronella oil.

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