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 Training Offered To Growing Valued Sandalwood Farming

 Training Offered To Growing Valued Sandalwood Farming
Sandalwood development project officer Maika Daveta
August 30
10:00 2018



We have records from Lakeba where a single tree was sold for $12,000 at $35 a kg and the heartwood weight of this was more than 200kg.

The Ministry of Forests has started promoting sandal­wood farming as a source of income for locals who want to get into the industry, especially with prices surging in recent years.

Sandalwood development project officer Maika Daveta said the cur­rent value of sandalwood compared to 20 years ago is more than 100 per cent.

“The price now varies between $50 to $100 per kilograms of heartwood of sandalwood,” Mr Daveta said.

“For one tree only, the average heartwood can weigh up to 30kg, so possible sale from one tree is be­tween $1800 to $3000.

“We have records from Lakeba where a single tree was sold for $12,000 at $35 a kg and the heart­wood weight of this was more than 200kg.”

He said the ministry is now selling a three-inch plant from the depart­ment nursery in Colo-i-Suva for $3 a plant.

“Consequently, the end product and cash gained from the tiny tree will unquestionably turn into many thousands of dollars in 20 years’ time,” he said.

Mr Daveta said the ministry has also started training interested lo­cals with workshops held within the country and particularly in mari­time areas.

He said this was part of the Gov­ernment’s plans to revive and re­vitalise the sandalwood trade and industry in Fiji.

“The department is providing ad­vice and the support system while the communities are involved in the raising of their required seedlings.

“Subsequently they undertake the replanting work as well as selling surplus seedlings to other interest­ed parties.

“Communities within the Central, Northern and Western divisions, that are fascinated by this concept to be their future long term invest­ment, are welcomed to be part of the training that is brought to divi­sional level,” he said.

Yasi, (as sandalwood is commonly known) has two primary uses: ex­traction of an essential oil and as a source of wood for carving.

Currently the production in Fiji is based on the population of sandal­wood that was deposited in Kadavu and the Lau groups 20 to 25 years ago.

Other areas where they are largely found are in the interiors of Bua, Macuata and the tip of Cakaudrove on the island of Vanua Levu.

Mr Daveta said the department also wants to nurture seedlings.

“Also part of the plan is to build community nurseries where san­dalwood seedlings can be sourced from.

“This will be a good source of mon­ey and we will also assist farmers in short term courses.

“Sandalwood, as reiterated by the trainers, should be rec­ognised by farmers as a plant for the next generation.” Edited by Jonathan Bryce

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