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Minister baffled by sap claims

Luke Rawalai
Saturday, February 24, 2018

THE Ministry of Forestry is not aware of incidents involving the extraction of sandalwood sap.

Responding to concerns from islanders of Mali during a talanoa Session on Tuesday, Forest Minister Osea Naiqamu told villagers that he was only aware of such extraction processes which were carried out on pine trees.

Mr Naiqamu says this is the first time that he is hearing of the extraction of sandalwood sap.

"I am only aware that extraction of sap is only carried out on trees like pine," he said.

"If this is happening then we have to consult our specialists to determine the truth of the matter.

"It is strange to hear that sandalwood sap can be extracted too for purposes that we do not even know."

Mali islanders in Macuata have raised their concerns Mr Naiqamu about the extraction of sandalwood sap through injection.

Tui Mali Ratu Meli Bogiso told Mr Naiqamu during a talanoa session on Monday that they heard of sandalwood sap being removed from trees on Viti Levu by way of injection.

Ratu Meli said how the injection was done on a tree was unknown to him.

"The story that we have received is really troubling because we have sandalwood trees in the village that have been grown to financially support families," he said.

"We are worried that people may start stealing sap from trees without our knowledge.

"On behalf of the villagers here I am kindly requesting the ministry to look into the matter."

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