Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Is much sandalwood - yasi - grown in Fiji today?






from w




Last weekend we watched a program on TV about a lucrative business growing sandalwood in Australia so later discussed whether much happens in Fiji about sandalwood these days. I did a search on the net and found out a little, and we need to do more research because wouldn't it be good if this could become a product - after ten years or so - for Fiji's farming community.


This is what I found out.


Sandalwood is called yasi in Fiji and also grows in Vanuatu and Tonga.The plant belongs to the Santalaceae family. The tree can grow to as high as 12m with trunks reaching 30cm in diameter. The tree is semiparasitic with the roots attaching to other host trees and providing water and some mineral nutrients. Accordingly, it is well adapted to periodic dry conditions. The flowers are rich pink to purplish red, and the fleshy fruits drupe turns from green to purple or reddish-violet when matured. The fruits and flowers are found throughout the year.



Sandalwood is an integral part of the history and ecology of Fiji.


The aromatic wood of yasi is highly prized and in the early 1800s American and English ships exploited the yasi in Vanua Levu, particularly Bua. They even called Vanua Levu Sandalwood Island. They damaged the plantations by chopping at the trees to obtain the rich oil base of the tree. Within thirty years the forests were decimated. I suppose the Fijians were given axes and trinkets. It is a sad tale of exploitation.


I wonder how much sandalwood still grows in Fiji. There certainly is some because I’ve seen girls with sandalwood dust in their hair at weddings and some products are made in Fiji using sandalwood. Are there any/many commercial ventures in specifically growing yasi. There was a conference in Nadi about it and trials and tests are done at places like Koronivia Research Station. One of our mataqali young men is interested in the possibility of starting a yasi plantation. The seedlings require other plants because they don’t grow alone. They are good for dry areas such as babasiga which is Macuata. They say that yasi grows in Bua Province, Dogotuki in Macuata, Kadavu; Ono-i-Lau; Lakeba; Oneata (Lau); and Nausori Highlands in Northwest Viti Levu. One company is registered in Labasa but an email only got a connection in China.

19 comments:

Pandabonium said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pandabonium said...

That's an interesting story. A similar sad tale happened in Hawaii with sandalwood. It is now state regulated. One company is offering Hawaiian sandalwood powder online for US$45 an ounce!

Seems we humans always exploit nature (and each other) to excess and never learn from the past.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Our son is interested in following up on yasi because he has suitable land, but as far as I know, there is very little going on, yet it could provide a very good income twelve years down the track. That's a long time ahead for farms to think about though.
w.

Pandabonium said...

My mother grew up on a wheat farm and that is always a problem with short term markets - each year everyone does the same thing at once in response to the market, so the prices go up and down in cycles.

Well, perhaps 12 years is long enough that others won't do it meaning less supply and a higher price for your son.

laminar_flow said...

12 years crop rotation is a long wait. Unless, some brilliant chemist decides to isolate the compounds in Yasi and synthesize an artificial Yasi.

BTW,

Have your read Sandalwood Island by Russell Foreman. Set in Vanualevu and guess what Wailevu is mentioned.

Will add book to my roll.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Thanks Panda and Laminar for your comments. I'll look for the book about Vanua Levu. Perhaps the Wailevu mentioned is the one in the Savusavu area as the early traders hung around there a lot.
Yes, twelve years is a long time, but it's good to set up something for the future as well as short-term crops.
w.

Gilbert Veisamasama, Jr said...

Is sandalwood oil something that would get an interest on overseas markets?

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Our son is doing some research about the subject and needs to follow up on the ABC TV program called 'Landline' that ran a fairly detailed story on the potential of sandalwood in Australia so there is still much information to find out.
w.

Jeff Allen said...

I read with interest the various comments on the blog.
Just to help answer some concerns and questions please see below.
Correction re species of sandalwodo being in Fiji (Santalum yasi) Yes it is in Fiji but also there is album + through natural accorance some hybrids have come along.
I come from Australia myself and have been involved in the sandalwood and essential oil industry for 18 years.
The research we have done here in Fiji so far has surveyed over 5o different trees from different areas of Fiji.
The results vary considerably in oil content and quality.
I would like to be able to share my knowledge with Fijians to set up a plantation here in Fiji.
I am working with a company from Fiji now and we have set up a large steam distillation plant in Fiji that can process 2 tonne per week.
I sell the oils to some clients I have that use them in perfumes and aftershaves.
They go to Francs, USA, Germany, India & England.
If any one would like to speak with me about the possiblities of us extracting the oil from Sandalwood we would be happy to speak and share some knowledge.

There is a huge opportunity for Fijians to actually value add to this resource and I encourage them to consdider this.

Jeff Allen

FIJI 9904135
Australia +61357281776

Jeff Allen said...

I read with interest the various comments on the blog.
Just to help answer some concerns and questions please see below.
Correction re species of sandalwodo being in Fiji (Santalum yasi) Yes it is in Fiji but also there is album + through natural accorance some hybrids have come along.
I come from Australia myself and have been involved in the sandalwood and essential oil industry for 18 years.
The research we have done here in Fiji so far has surveyed over 5o different trees from different areas of Fiji.
The results vary considerably in oil content and quality.
I would like to be able to share my knowledge with Fijians to set up a plantation here in Fiji.
I am working with a company from Fiji now and we have set up a large steam distillation plant in Fiji that can process 2 tonne per week.
I sell the oils to some clients I have that use them in perfumes and aftershaves.
They go to Francs, USA, Germany, India & England.
If any one would like to speak with me about the possiblities of us extracting the oil from Sandalwood we would be happy to speak and share some knowledge.

There is a huge opportunity for Fijians to actually value add to this resource and I encourage them to consdider this.

Jeff Allen

FIJI 9904135
Australia +61357281776

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Thank you for your information Jeff. It seems that this is a great resource in Fiji that is under-used and the possibility of making this a future industry for Fiji is not talked about much. Good luck with your venture. I'll pass on your contact details with our family in Labasa.
w.

Hardeep said...

Hey Jeff your info was very helpful.
I am interested in purchases of sandal wood.
Please inform if you / or your company can export the same.
please write back to fortunegateway@gmail.com

Thanks

Hardeep Thakur

zaqwar said...

We have stock of sandalwood but i'm really interested if someone can be kind enough to buy our sandalwood

my contact is 9671026/3372780

regards,

Sekonaia Rabuka

zaqwar said...

we have a stock of andalwood but m looking for a buyer

regards

sekonaia.Rabuka

9671026

Sunny said...

I need to know the History of Sandalwood trade, as my daughter is doing a research. She is in Class 7

CHAN phillip said...

hello zaqwar,

we're interristing about your stock. I called this afternoon from Tahiti but nobody answer.
Can you give me more details?
e-mail: pearlmantahaa@mail.pf
TAHITI:+689713078

best regards,
CHAN Phillip

Anonymous said...

Hi

I wrote in this blog over 4 years ago.
If some one had planted back then they would only have 12 years to wait.
There is a lot to know when planting and growing sandalwood.
you need to make sure that you have the correct seed stock.
also it is a hemiparasitic so it needs a host plant to latch onto under ground by roots.

I have worked in this industry for over 18 years and if any one would like any information i can supply what i have.
My belief is to educate and hopefully develop and industry.
If anyone is wanting to get into essential oil farming I have some good models.
as you can plant your sandalwood trees and hosts in large grids or rows and then intercrop with other spices or essential oil crops.
such as cardamon, ginger, chilli, cocoa, patchouli.
these are all 1 or 2 year crops with some that are every 6 months.
these can be distilled for the oil with teh same machinery as you use for sandalwood.
if any one wants i am avaiable for consultancy and beleive that there are some very good opportunities available for the people on the ground on farms n Fiji.
I am interested in any proposal from consultancy to share holdings etc.

Jeff Allen
Pacific Provender
61 437617537
bearoma@activ8.net.au
Skype = bearoma22

jzac said...

I would like to ask a question; are all sandalwood species of tree viable or just a few in fiji. Most people are not aware of the potential of this rare commodity. I for one have information on more than 80 trees that are over 20 yrs old. But am not sure whether they are marketable. Please reply to my contact to talk business.

J.Isaac
ph:9568651

Anonymous said...

guys i am interested in planting few trees (yasi) in my land in wainadoi but i dont know if it will takeoff, because of the climate condition in southern division. if anyone had done the research or planted in these areas please inform.