GI tag for Marayoor Sandal

The Department of Wood Science of Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) has taken the initiative for securing Forest Certification and registration of Geographical Indication for Marayoor sandal.

Forest Certification is a mechanism for monitoring, tracing, and labelling timber, wood, and pulp products and non-timber forest products whereby the quality of management from environmental, social, and economic perspectives is judged against a series of agreed standards.

“The Marayoor sandal division in Idukki district is the only compact tract of sandal forests in the country or, perhaps, the whole world having mature trees,” says E.V. Anoop, Head of the Department of Wood Science.

To combat unlawful felling and smuggling of sandal wood trees, the government decided to upgrade the Marayoor range of the Munnar division into a new division named Marayoor sandal division in 2005.

About 150 daily-wage guards are engaged in protection of sandal 24×7. Most of them are members of the Vana Samrakshana Samithies that provide employment to tribal groups, mainly the Muthuvans and the Hill Pulayas. The Marayoor government sandalwood depot is the only one of its kind in the State, where dead, wind-fallen, and stolen trees are auctioned. The latest auction (e-lelam), held on February 5 and 6, and earned the Forest Department with the record revenue of Rs.46 crore. “The sandal from Marayoor is far superior in quality to that from Karnataka and Sathyamangala forests,” added Dr. Anoop Wayanad.

Other products like Jeerakasala rice, Wayanad Gandhakasala rice, Central Travancore Jaggery, Pokkali rice, and Vazhakkulam pineapple have also been registered with the GI registry at KAU’s initiative.

Photo Credit: Madhav Pai /www.flickr.com / CC BY-SA 2.0

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