Project launched to revive red-sandalwood trees
By Thameenah Razeek
The President’s Task Force on Economic Revival and Poverty Eradication revealed that Sri Lanka has only 37 mature Red sandalwood trees. As a result, the Ministry of Environment has launched a programme to increase the availability of the rare and valuable Red sandalwood tree.
The task committee stated that while the Red Sandalwood (Pterocarpus santalinus) may be easily cultivated in Sri Lanka, it has become a rare species due to the difficulty in obtaining other plants required for production. It was also discovered that not just Nellie but also Kohomba and Mee seeds have to be imported from India to Sri Lanka at a cost of USD 9 million a year.
During the conversation, it was also thoroughly discussed that Sri Lanka does not have enough Red sandalwood plants, and that white sandalwood is also imported from India. A mature sandalwood plant will set you back around Rs. 20 million. A mature sandalwood tree can grow to a height of 8-12 m and is a species that thrives in the arid zone.
During the discussion, Ayurvedic doctors highlighted that a programme to plant 1,000 sandalwood saplings should be initiated, and that they have already planted 4,800 sandalwood trees in various parts of the island. Minister of Environment, Mahinda Amaraweera said that his Ministry will take steps to identify 1,000 spots throughout the country to plant 1,000 sandalwood trees.