← Go back to Press Releases
Blog Image

Ministry Conducts Final Consultation In Efforts to Establish Sandalwood Growers Association

The Ministry is also working to improve the sandalwood market system to ensure equitable benefits for our local sandalwood growers.


The Ministry of Forestry held its final nationwide consultations with sandalwood growers and stakeholders in the Northern Division today in an effort to establish a Sandalwood Growers Association.

The consultation held at the Takia Hotel in Labasa was to inform them of the need and importance of establishing the Association in Fiji.

Speaking at the opening of the consultation, Ministry Executive Director Research and Development, Mr Tevita Bulai, said the Ministry was working to improve the sandalwood market system to ensure equitable benefits for our local sandalwood growers.

Mr Bulai said the Ministry would continue to strengthen its capacity to support community-based sandalwood nurseries and plantations to ensure that the sandalwood industry would have consistent and abundant resources.

"We have begun consultations with sandalwood growers in the West, Central, and Eastern Divisions and are now in the Northern Division finalising the Association Cooperative by-laws and the formalisation of the Sandalwood Growers Association in the 2023/2024 financial year in consultation with appropriate agencies," Mr Bulai said.

Sandalwood remains a highly valuable commercial tree species in Fiji, although wild sandalwood resources have been largely exhausted through overharvesting, fire and theft.

While our staff gathered more data for the proposed association guideline's finalisation, the growers and stakeholders were given the chance to express their views and offer ideas for improving sandalwood development in Fiji.

Minister for Fisheries and Forestry Hon. Kalaveti Ravu, had made a ministerial statement in Parliament in regards to the Strategic Framework for Sandalwood Research and Development in Fiji.

The Ministry through the Sandalwood Development Programme will establish a sandalwood brand recognition and development in the international marketplace based on its natural properties and competitiveness.

“We will be reaching out to key agencies within the Government to develop this brand,” Mr Bulai added.

Kolinio Batiliku, the headman of Nawailevu Village in Bua, who attended the consultation, stressed the importance of engaging young people in climate-smart agroforestry.

Mr Batiliku thanked the Ministry for communicating with the growers and educating them on the pertinent policies and regulations in order to make the trade of sandalwood an equitable commodity for all. He firmly supports the formation of an association.

He shared that the villagers of Nawailevu had embarked on a journey to help restore their land that had been used for bauxite mining over the last decade.

This is through the implementation of a sustainable landscape plot, which has been cultivated with fruits, vegetables, root crops, and trees, including sandalwood.

In addition, the formation of an association is a policy objective of the Ministry to promote the active participation of landowners for effective representation of their interests and greater engagement within a regulatory framework to drive the sector's socioeconomic goals while managing the environmental implications.

Participants at the consultations were represented from the provinces of Bua, Cakaudrove and Macuata.

← Go back to Press Releases