Migration of people from villages to cities is ever increasing due to abundant job opportunities. Most small farmers around the big cities are giving up cultivation. Average agricultural land holding per farmer is reducing and per capita arable land across the world is shrinking rapidly. Added to these are the challenges related to climate, water availability, monsoon factors, no minimum price guarantee for the produce etc.
Due to all these factors, demand for food and medicinal plants are sky rocketing.
Santalum Album popularly known as Sandal wood is very well known for its medicinal & aromatic properties. It is also widely used for carving. It naturally grew in the southern part of India and majority of them were found in Karnataka & Tamil Nadu. But now research has proved that Sandal can be grown anywhere with proper cultivation techniques.
In the year 1960, Sandal wood production was about 3000 Tons/year. Due to its special properties, high value and limited availability, lots of regulations were imposed in the growth of Sandalwood. It is a hemi parasitic plant and cannot grow without the support of a host plant.
Due to the regulations & no planned cultivations availability of Sandalwood declined to 1500 Tons/year in the year 1997 and its availability further declined to about <1000 Tons in the year 2001. As per latest reports its availability was about < 250 Tons in the year 2006.
This created huge mismatch between supply and demand. This gap is so huge that Sandal wood price has increased from (estimated) Rs 6.5 Lakhs/Ton in the year 2000 to (estimated) Rs 25 to 35 Lakhs/Ton.
Since year 2001 government has deregulated the growth and ownership of Sandalwood. They are promoting intense cultivation of Sandal and also offer subsidies. Now the grower of the sandalwood has complete ownership. He/She can sell after obtaining permission from local forest department.