Sandalwood legislation to regulate its trade

The Ministry of Forestry has warned that harvesting and exporting of sandalwood in Tonga were still being prohibited. Picture: KANIVA TONGA NEWS

THE Ministry of Forests is working with partners to develop the sandalwood legislation which will regulate the trade of the aromatic wood.

Sandalwood project officer Maika Lesubula said they were reviewing the price of sandalwood in the country as 20 to 30 years old of raw trees were normally sold at $100 per kilogram.

Mr Lesubula said according to standard prices of sandalwood in the international market this was good.

“With the expected boom in sandalwood tree trade because of planting schemes that are currently underway we are expecting prices to increase in the near future,” he said.

“Before this happens we intend to have legislation which will regulate the price of sandalwood.

“One thing that we are also currently doing is controlling the sandalwood markets that Fiji has and to date we have a total of five major markets all in the Asian continent and the Middle East.

“Opening the markets when we do not have the resources and infrastructure to support the industry can be disastrous.”

He said the ministry through its department was working on production of sandalwood oil which was more lucrative in the international markets worth in the millions.

“For this purpose we plan to invest in a distiller in the near future and developing production of trees through the issuance of seedlings from our nurseries,” he said.

“Fiji exports one to two tonnes of raw sandalwood a year which is sold at about $1 million per tonne.”

More Stories