Is it legal to grow and sell Sandalwood?

Indian government law does not specifically prevent growing sandalwood trees in one’s own property. Only Karnataka State, there is ambiguity, however, it has been clarified, As per the Section 108 of the Karnataka Forest (Amendment) Act 2001, sandalwood tree grown in a specific land is the property of the owner of the land. The government is also providing a subsidy to grow sandalwood through State & Central Medicinal Plants Authority and Horticulture Department.

Is it possible to harvest Sandalwood in 15 years?

Historically, sandalwood grows naturally in the forest. Indian Sandalwood is a semi-root parasite that relies on host trees partially for its sustenance. The host trees are not readily available in the natural forest in close proximity to sandalwood trees and therefore, sandal tree growth is slow. There are proven advanced silviculture methods wherein appropriate host plants are introduced and optimum water and nutrients are supplied to let the sandalwood tree achieve optimum maturity within 15 years. The same process takes longer in a natural, wild environment. We, at InAcres, use our own proprietory method of natural farming called Krishi Yoga to achieve optimum crop yields organically. Companies around the world, Australia, are engaged in commercial cultivation of Indian sandalwood. They started harvesting and selling sandalwood in the world market since 2012. These companies harvested sandalwood right from its sapling stages to mature sandalwood trees taking, which takes 15 years.

How InAcres gets rewarded for the cultivation services ?

InAcres follows an Indian traditional farming model, where an investor owns the land, bears the infrastructure costs and InAcres does the cultivation and shares financial returns of the crop on an equal (50-50) basis.

How does InAcres mitigate general risks & security issues ?

Sandalwood is a hardy tree that can withstand dry conditions and is least susceptible to crop diseases. We select the most suitable sites for plantation based on good soil, water and environmental conditions. We use advanced micro-irrigation methods which conserve and deliver optimum water for trees. We administer natural methods for crop protection and nutrition. A multi-level fool-proof security system will prevent any theft.

What are the farm security measures & methods ?

  • 7 feet solar fencing all around the farm with a single point entry and a secured gate.
  • 24×7 security personnel staff will be present on the farm.
  • Full-time dog squad management.
  • Vigilance cameras at key points with 24×7 recording facility
  • Insertion of RFID (Radio Frequency IDs) in the stem of all sandalwood trees.

What is Farm to Consumer Model ?

InAcres cultivates and the resultant farm produce are made into natural organic products that are ready to be bought by value-addition. The Farm-to-Consumer model creates more wealth for the landowner(farmer).

If the results are guaranteed, then why don’t the farmers or the project owners do the farming themselves ?

There is a great market demand and potential for sandalwood. Right now, India is importing Indian sandalwood from countries such as Australia. InAcres needs financial resources to cultivate large areas and fulfill the demand in India. Our expertise in commercial sandalwood cultivation took years to develop. If we have to cultivate only on our own land, we would be limited by our resources. However, with community farming model we can cultivate larger areas for mutual financial benefit.

What are the benefits of Community Farming (CSA) ?

  • You get the ownership of the property (1/4 acre or multiples)
  • The landowner get 50% of the profits from the farm produce
  • From the fifth year onwards mango produce will begin
  • From the 15th year the sandalwood will be harvested
  • You get to stay at Eco-Village guest house with family and friends
  • You can avail tax-free income as it is classified as agriculture income
  • You would be a proud contributor of over 600 trees (per acre) to the environment

After 15 years of investing, the investment will be seen as a good plan for a farmhouse as the project comprises growing with mango groves (as the sandalwood, by then, will be harvested and sold). This will result in a lush green farmland big enough for construction, with a gated community and with guest houses. It will also consist of a good roads connecting each acre of land and giving independent access to the landowners. The most important aspect is that like-minded neighbours will get to live together – all of them will have a minimum of 1/4 acre of land, which means ensures privacy to the family as well. It would be an ideal plan to get away from the concrete jungle – it’s a good post-retirement idea.

Do we (customers) have to pay anything for the maintenance cost after the fourth year?

No, initial farm infrastructure, plantation, cultivation requires investment, apart from the basic investment of buying the farm. However, integrated inter-cropping will generate sustainable farm income to pay for farm operation and maintenance. We also offer details of farm revenues and expenditure in a transparent manner.

Who is Dr. H S Anantha Padmanabha and how is he associated with this project?

Dr. H. S. Anantha Padmanabha, the forestry scientist, is an expert on sandalwood cultivation & cell biology. He pioneered the know-how and technology for commercial farm cultivation of sandalwood. He has over 40 years of experience in forestry and in the past, worked as a senior scientist at the Institute of Wood Science and Technology in Bangalore (India) from 1964 to 1998. There, he was responsible for guiding research projects on sandalwood and other forestry species including, but not limited to, techniques for growing sandalwood even as he taught preventing and dealing with disease and pests affecting forestry tree species.

Currently, he is the director of Karnataka Research Foundation and Advance Technology Transfer, Bangalore. He is a consultant with Tropical Forestry Services & Forest Rewards of  Australia. He had served as a chief scientist to Department of Conservation and Land Development (CALM) and Forest Product Commission (FPC) Government of Australia from 1998 to 2002. He is an honorary advisor to Karnataka Soaps and Detergents Ltd., Bangalore, assisting and providing guidance to farmers, cooperative bodies and NGOs growing sandalwood in India. He has co-authored books on sandalwood and has published over 150 research articles in both Indian and international journals. He was designated as chief technical advisor for sandalwood projects with the World Bank Free project (ICFRE) Government of India.

Do you have any Insurance for this crop as it is a long-term crop?

 Yes. This is currently provided as an option since the farm is still at a development stage.

When is the land registered in my name?

The registration/transfer is done on receipt of full payment or on the completion of all installments that is 4 to 6 months.

Can we have a choice in selecting the land allocated to us?

An up-to-date copy of the layout and allocation will be made available at the time of registration and allocations are done on first-come-first-serve basis (without any prior reservations) to maintain a fair and transparent ownership.

As owners, can we construct a farm house, on our own expense, in our allotted piece of land?

Although CSA members are the owners. Any construction in these fertile areas is prohibited till the sandalwood trees are harvested.  You can construct structures after 15 years when the sandalwood is harvested. However, you can stay and have membership privileges at the community ‘eco-village’ at the farm.

I come from a farming background, can I implement/handle/add/modify any changes to my piece of land or the crop?

Ideas and suggestions are welcome. However, there’s a lot of investment involved in acquiring reliable know-how  & technology by reputed scientists for the project design, implementation, and operation. Hence, any modifications are not permitted without any prior and written consent of the project owners and till sandalwood is harvested.

What happens if my piece of land yields lesser than the others. Will I get lesser returns?

During or after cultivation, the crop yields slightly varied depending on many natural factors. Hence, the collective yield is divided cumulatively among all the members, irrespective of the yield in the individual units in the farmlands.

What if I wish to sell the property in the mid of the term?

As the owner, you are free to transfer/change the ownership. But then, the new owner must honor and comply with original farm cultivation agreement & terms. All costs that result from the  transfer must be undertaken by the CSA member or the new party.

What is the project exit plan?

The sandalwood harvest will bring the farming term of 15 years to an end. Thereafter, the entire project will be handed over to the CSA members (land owners) after forming a general body and electing governing board of directors for the CSA community. However, CSA members who are interested can approach InAcres for another term of farming contract with terms and conditions decided at that point (depending on prevailing conditions).

I would like to see the site. Do you provide the transport facility to visit the site?

Yes, Site Visit Can be provided after reaching our Office.