New Delhi : As a part of the ongoing ‘Azaadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ initiative, Union Minister of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj Giriraj Singh today inaugurated a training program on Sandalwood Farming & Management of its health via video conferencing in association with the Institute of Wood Science & Technology (IWST), Bengaluru. The program is structured around the basics & benefits of Indian sandalwood, seed handling, nursery techniques & managing the health of the plant. Addressing the gathering, the Minister lauded this free of cost training initiative which he believes will help attract the youth towards sandalwood farming, revive this declining art & help reposition India as a market leader in the trade.
Sandalwood has been long associated with the Indian heritage & culture, as the country contributed 85% of the world’ sandalwood trade erstwhile. However, off late this has been declining at a fast rate. With anti-bacterial, anti-biotic & anti-cancer benefits amongst others, sandalwood finds its uses in pharmaceuticals, personal care & furnitures.
Globally, India & Australia are the largest growers of sandalwood, while the biggest markets lie in the United States, China, Japan & the Indian domestic market. While in 2020 the world sandalwood market stood at USD 300 million, World Trade Research pegs the market size at USD 3 billion by 2040. Identifying this tremendous growth potential, the Minister laid emphasis on preparing for the upcoming demand from right now by creating export quality products. This he felt can be achieved by taking up multiple initiatives like establishing Sandalwood Technology Innovation centres in the growing states under the leadership of IWST, value addition in training & skill development as well as introducing new methods of cultivation among farmers & young entrepreneurs.