Dull response to e-auction of Marayur sandalwood

Vana Samrakshana Samithy members chiselling sandalwood ahead of the e-auction at Marayur in Idukki district.

Vana Samrakshana Samithy members chiselling sandalwood ahead of the e-auction at Marayur in Idukki district.  

The two-day sandalwood e-auction which ended at the sandalwood division in Marayur on Friday evoked poor response probably because of the high prices and reserve stock among major buyers such as cosmetic industrial units and Ayurvedic medicine manufacturers.

Of the 38 tonnes of sandalwood placed for auction, only 3,853 kg was sold and an amount of Rs.3,87,84,000 collected. This was against the Rs.34-crore sale in the previous auction. The lowest sale of sandalwood was in 2012 when only 800 kg was sold in the auction. Marayur sandalwood is known internationally for its quality. Only mature trees which have fallen naturally, deadwood felled by lightning, and trees which have dried up of old age are sold at the auction.

Sources in the sandalwood division told The Hindu that bidders had complained of very high initial prices at Marayur even as the international prices were on a fall. The last auction was held in June and the short gap between the two auctions could be another reason for the poor response, they said.

Main buyers

The highest demand in the auction was for Class 10 variety ‘Jaipokal’ which was sold at Rs.10,308 per kg (743 kg of it was sold), followed by 11th class ‘Cheriya’ variety of chips at Rs.5,800 per kg (688 kg was sold). The main buyers included Karnataka Soaps and Detergents Ltd., Kerala Forest Development Corporation, and the Kodungalloor Deveswom.

Usually, the initial price is decided taking into account the average price and including an additional rate, fixed by the Forest Department, in each auction. This time, the rate added was at a high without considering a fall in international prices.

An official of the sandalwood division said that the Karnataka Forest Department had held a sandalwood auction at Shimoga only 10 days ago. This could also have had an impact on the Marayur sale. Usually the sandalwood auction, considered a major income to the State exchequer, is held twice a year with enough gap between the two auctions.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2020 9:24:06 PM |

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