Sunday, February 17, 2008

What is sandalwood really worth?

picture from Colo-i-Suva of yasi seedlings.

An article in today's Fiji Times shows that the men in Dreketi are only being paid 50 cents a kilo for sandalwood. That sounds disgracefully low to me. It's called yasi in Fiji. I thought sandalwood eventually can make $1000 per kilo! What should be the price at the first stage? It's not really a plantation item as yasi requires a host tree, so it's a bit complicated. Once upon a time Vanua Levu had a large amount of sandalwood but traders, mainly from USA, just chopped down the trees and made their own fortunes selling sandalwood in Asia.

If a suitable price was offered, wouldn't this be a more lucrative product than sugar?

Sandalwood rip-off
Sunday, February 17, 2008

SANDALWOOD traders in the North have called on the interim regime to secure a market for them because they were being ripped off by local buyers. The comment comes after buyers at Labasa dropped their purchase price from $1 to 50c a kilo. The disgruntled traders, who are members of mataqali Nakorovatu of Nabavatu Village in Dreketi, want the Ministry of Forestry to look into their concern. Clan spokesman Alifereti Esala said the price of 50c a kilo was a rip-off.

"It is not a good price especially when we cut the wood and bring it to town. To hire a carrier for our sandalwood from nabavatu to Labasa costs $200."

Mr Esala said the sandalwood trade was an expensive exercise especially for villagers who depended on money from sales for their income. Divisional Forestry Officer Northern Noa Vakacegu said the ministry did not control the price of sandalwood sale and for licensed harvesters, there were markets in the North they dealt with. "For yasi, the market price is $20 to $25 a kilo but we don't control the market price. There are only a few who have a licence to harvest and sell sandalwood."


Anonymous said...

This report is totally misleading the wood that Mr Esala is selling is not sandalwood, it is Yasidamu (Excocarpus Vitiensis). Noa Vakacegu is talking about Santalum Yasi called locally Yasidina. Mr Esala is well aware of these facts and is talking rubbish by saying "50cents per Kilo was a rip-off". Please report the actual facts in future, not misleading statements.Thank you Paul Cooper Lautoka

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Hello Paul,
Thank you for your contribution to the discussion. Have you written to the Fiji Times to tell them that the journalist and informant gave misleading information?
Our family is interested in yasi and sometime will investigate it further - if it would grow well near Labasa or not.

Lui said...

Just want to say thank you for this great web site. It is great to hear all the news and gossip from home. I was bron and raised in Labasa and and am now residing in Samoa.

it is good to know what is happening at home...once again Thanks for the great work.

Lui Seru

Anonymous said...

English Criminals like paul cooper should be in Jail for life!!! Scammers have no say....
I have introduced Fijian sandalwood yasi to paul cooper four Years ago.
What cooper knows about Fijian sandalwood species? All that he knows is how to commit upfront Crimes. Who needs his Filthy Criminal stolen comments?
paul cooper should been kicked out of Fiji three years ago! Also the shady Bank Manager, (Reginald Koomar) at the Nadi Airport branch, during 2008 November, and the Dedicated Preacher Pastor Captain Roy Rodricks) the OWNER OF LIVING WATERS Fiji.

Those Names above have looted US$350,000 in cash out of my custodian bank, The Colonial Bank in Nadi Airport Fiji. That was My commission out of a large sandalwood deal! Got nothing in the end, and nearly lose my life!!!

To all Sandalwood Buyers or Sellers!

Do not ever allow those scams near you!!!

Mike Radrodro said...

Yasi or Sansalwood Tales:

I was introduced to this species lately in January of 2012 so I am new to the Trade yet have met up with lots of Tales or rather tails end.
1) Unfortunately for Fiji, there had been never a National Project or Program for the replanting of the Sandalwood from pre Colonial days, Colonial run Governements, Fiji Independance Governments.
2) Sandalwood & Sea slugs (Beachdemer) were the first commodities for trades in Fiji.
3) Travelling from the Interiors of Vitilevu, Coastal areas of Vitilevu, Vanualevu etc had given me an opportunity not been talked about openly.
4) Fijian Politics at its worst surrounds businesses like the one I represented when trying to assist locals.
5) Top it of the worst still are middlemen who are only interested in their pockets rather than the Landowners.
6) Fiji has run out of huge matured sandalwwood trees that are over 50yrs old but only with the young ones upto 25yrs if lucky.
7) Although there are still some native matured Sandalwood trees around in Fiji, finding them are difficult together with the Fijian Political system as cover up.
Mikaele (Mike) Radrodro

Anonymous said...

get cheap sandalwood powder at:

Nicholas said...

Paul Cooper, who's from an English background Serious "Scammer" Do not trust him regardless!!! Also his partner Roy-Rodriks, otherwise known as Captain-Roy, or Preacher-Roy he has also false advertised on the e-net as the owner of Living Waters in Fiji. He is a very conspicuous Indian, and most times roaming unopposed in Fiji. His family resides in Singapore and also involved in other shady business!
For more informations you can always contact, Most Hours: +61 0418184000.

Anonymous said...

Vinaka Peceli and Wendy, Just doing a google search to see what is out there on 'Yasi'. Very skimpy stuff. Thanks for this awesome conversation. Ratu Mike Radrodro seem to know what he is talking about. Excellent answer you ahve there. :)
Luvei Viti

Anonymous said...

I am looking for a buyer of Sandal Wood. Approximately 50,000 hectres. If anyone is interested or knows of someone who might be interested please contact me at

Anonymous said...

I have a sandalwood plant approx. 20+yeears old and Ministry of Forest(Livai) has confirmed its Indian (sandalwood santalum album) plant, I have cut a branch from midway up the tree and its got red -heart about 6-10mm from the bark and it smell nice sandalwood.

I need it sold. please help me find a buyer ..

Jack Nath