In Tripura, Rubber is undoubtedly the most preferred plantation crop and, looking to the out look of the Rubber in the state, it is expected that it would continue to be the favorite of the people. This is the general trend as on date as far as Tripura in concerned.
This is basically due to profitability of the Rubber compare to other crops. Rubber price of course fluctuates sometime but stabilizes very shortly due to which confidence on rubber is still intact.
In the primetime of Rubber, a new breed of farmers, fairly educated, access of information of surrounding who do not want to be named as laggard in adopting Rubber Plantation or any thing new had been thinking for starting with new plantation crop of the stature of rubber tree.
These so called farmers have been eying for sandalwood tree plantation in their homestead land. Of course, the concept of Sandalwood cultivation is very new to the local people but it may gain momentum if given proper exposure.
Reason, highly prized, rarely available sandalwood would bring double the income of Rubber from the same unit area of Rubber within the period of fifteen to sixteen years. Moreover, once established, it requires less maintenance like Rubber.
Their expectation is, an acre of sandalwood tree plantation with a plant population of 400 to 500 would make fortune of rupees seven to eight lakhs or even more within 15 years of plantation. But the problem with the sandalwood trees as apprehended by the people is:
1) Seedling is available only in the government nursery.
2) Cost of seedling is much more costly than that of Rubber Seedling.
3) Sandalwood tree is semi parasitic so host plant would be required in the periphery of Sandalwood tree / Seedling.
4) Seedling mortality is quite more.
5) There’s prevalence of theft of sandalwood seedling.
There’s also another hesitation that sandalwood produced in sub-tropical region with more rainfall and less prevalent dry spell would yield inferior quality of heartwood in terms of oil content in the heart wood.
Nevertheless, beginning should not take further delay. There are plenty of high lands suitable for Sandalwood Tree cultivation.
Rubber is economical no doubt but Sandalwood is economical too with aesthetic value that people usually look and nurture for.
Agritangkol dated 07.07.2012