The present scenario of Sandalwood in the country is that it has gravely declined due to exploitation and the unfortunate event of deforestation.
According to the EMS policy of the company, along with the liberal policy of the Government of Karnataka, KSDL has started propagating ‘grow more sandalwood’ programme., Buy Back arrangements(annexure A) have been made with farmers and entrepreneurs and this encourages them to take up the commercial cultivation of sandalwood, on ‘share and prosper’ basis along with host plants like Chikku, Amla, Drumsticks, Curryleaves, Casurina, Acasia, Dalbargia Latifolia which are capable of reducing the gestation period for Sandalwood. This scheme is aimed at creating large scale rural employment, alleviation of poverty, reduction in global warming by increasing the forest cover of Karnataka state, and establish Karnataka as’ Srigandhada Nadu’ – The land of Sandalwood. This will help the country regain its past glory when it was popular for being the largest producer of Sandalwood. The eventual momentum has picked up here in India, thanks to the support of M/s NMPB New Delhi, NHM. So far, it is estimated that 470 farmers have come forward in the state for the commercial cultivation of Sandalwood and entered a MoU under buy back arrangements for over 2000 acres of land.
Many Institutions, Entrepreneurs, Public sector and Private sector companies, have shown great interest in growing Sandalwood and purchasing Sandalwood saplings. This trend is fast growing in Karnataka and spreading to other states of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Meanwhile, the Govt of Karnataka has enabled KSDL and KSHDC to purchase adult Sandalwood tress directly from the ‘owners’, defined under the Karnataka Forest Rules vide Notification No.FEE 21 FSW 2008, dated: 11.07.2008 which includes purchase of the Sandalwood from public sector undertaking / defence, department /para military organizations on whose land the Sandalwood is cultivated or grown naturally, who are treated as ‘owner’ as per Rule 103 (CF) Karnataka Forest Rules 1969 (as amended). KSDL has entered an agreement as per annexure B, with the growers of Sandalwood trees directly, according to the rates fixed by the government of Karnataka. There exists high quality governance that ensures fairness, accountability and transparency in all the dealings of Sandalwood.
Additionally, KSDL and KSHDC, have entered an MoU for the joint sourcing of Sandalwood as PSU’s . KSDL is looking for naturally grown sandalwood for captive consumption . This mutually benefits the Sandalwood Grower & KS&DL.
As an initiative to conserve Sandalwood and based on an EMS policy of the company, KSDL has initiated action to replant Sandalwood saplings every time there is extraction of Sandalwood trees . This has been successfully carried out with the cooperation of the Forest Department.