AGARTALA, Sept 14: The Tripura Forest department has initiated a process to open an Agar International Trade and Research Centre (AITRC) here to facilitate marketing linkage as well research on Agar, he said.
Agar (Aquilaria malaccensis) is an evergreen tree that grows in Tripura in abundance and Agarwood is used in incense, perfume, and small carvings.
The state, which has more than one crore Agar trees in Dharmanagar subdivision of North Tripura district, has over 50 agar trade licence holders.
A survey is already underway to count the number of Agar trees across the state.
Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Verma, in his Budget speech, had announced an allocation of Rs 15 core for the agar sector in the Northeastern state.
“We have already begun a process to establish Agar International Trade & Research Centre (AITRC) in Agartala to promote agar trade and research. Since the fund has been allocated in the Budget, it will be opened in a pre-built facility by March,” Pravin L Agarwal, the director of NTFP (non-timber forest products) Centre of Excellence told PTI on Wednesday.
The Forest department is in talks with the Industries and Commerce department to get a suitable place for setting up AITRC, Agarwal said.
NTFP Centre of Excellence has also been working on setting up a local agar market in North Tripura’s Kadamtala shortly.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF), KS Sethi, and Agarwal have already visited Kadamtala for the purpose.
There will be 20 stalls in the proposed market and only growers having trade licenses will only stalls there for selling agar products, including oil.
At present, the only local agar market is at Hojai in Assam.
The department has embarked on a mission to plant agar trees extensively.
Last year, around 10 lakh saplings were planted in the entire state and 20 lakh nurseries will be raised in the next plantation season.
NTFP Centre of Excellence has already floated a brand titled ‘TriAgar’ to promote agar business and produced five agar products in collaboration with Fragrance and Flavour Development Centre (FFDC), Kannauj, he said. (PTI)