Feature | SUNBIZ

Businessman Offers $60K For Lakeba Sandalwood

“The businessman is really interested and ready to pay cash. He visited me twice and we’re still communicating,” Mr Dakai said.
27 Jan 2020 10:36
Businessman Offers $60K For Lakeba Sandalwood
Mafi Dakai stands beside his yasi tree at Tubou Village, Lakeba, Lau during the Lau Provincial Council meeting in Tubou.

A businessman is offering $60,000 to buy a 23-year-old sandalwood tree (yasi) at Tubou Village in Lakeba, Lau.

The owner of the tree Mafi Dakai said a man from Yadrana was acting on behalf of the buyer.

“The businessman is really interested and ready to pay cash. He visited me twice and we’re still communicating,” Mr Dakai said.

“I have two yasi trees of the same age planted just beside my house in Tubou Village.”

Mr Dakai said he was happy that the two plants had survived and grown big.

“They survived a few cyclones and they’re ready to be harvested and sold,” he said

“Other villagers have also planted yasi in their compound just like I did.”

Mafi Dakai stands beside his yasi tree at Tubou Village, Lakeba, Lau during the Lau Provincial Council meeting in Tubou.

Mafi Dakai stands beside his yasi tree at Tubou Village, Lakeba, Lau during the Lau Provincial Council meeting in Tubou.

A release from the Ministry of Forestry on Sandalwood Development said that yasi species has a wide geographical range in Fiji.

It is known to grow in the provinces of Bua, Macuata and the tip of Cakaudrove in the island of Vanua Levu.

In Viti Levu, the species is recorded from the Nausori Highlands in Navosa district.

The species is also known to grow naturally in some parts of Kadavu, and in some islands in the Lau Group.

The planting rotation for yasi is said to be around 20 years and the average mass weight at 20 years is around 20 kilograms while the selling prices range from $80 to $100 per kg.

Yasi on the other hand only requires simple tools for its harvesting.

As a parasitic plant, yasi will not do well without host species. This is particularly helpful to the fact that host materials can provide short to medium term benefits to the farmers, for example, the use of lemon as host trees will see the production of fruits in the short to medium term before the maturity of the yasi crop.

Some of best host species are lemon, calliandra, casuarina, guava, serianthes, and accasia.

However, it will adapt well to all local hosts available as long as the host materials are not too dense to smother the candidate crop tree.

Lastly, the species has been successfully planted in other non yasi sites and therefore can be well established if introduced to other parts of Fiji.

Edited by Percy Kean

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