Red sanders is now free of export restrictions

Context:

  • All red sanders farmers, who weren’t allowed to export their produce as the foreign trade policy prohibited it, now can. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), an agency of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry  revised its export policy to permit its export if it is obtained from cultivated land..

About Red sanders:

  • Red sanders (Pterocarpus santalinus), known for its rich hue and therapeutic properties, is high in demand across Asia, particularly in China and Japan, for use in cosmetics and medicinal products as well as for making furniture, woodcraft and musical instruments. Its popularity can be gauged from the fact that a tonne of red sanders costs anything between Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore in the international market.

Status:

  • This is a great step taken by the DGFT which will benefit red sanders farmers. However, red sanders remains listed in the Appendix II of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). It shall be removed, as it was removed from endangered category of International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Why the restrictions?

  • The tree is endemic to several districts in Andhra Pradesh and some parts of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. But overexploitation prompted the Union government in the 1980s to recommend inclusion of red sanders in Appendix II of CITES, which says “trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilisation incompatible with their survival”.
  • “The species was listed in Appendix II of CITES in 1995, and subsequently export of red sanders was prohibited in 2004,” says SK Shanmugasundaram, a retired conservator of forest from Tamil Nadu. “States too regulated the trade of red sanders through a process of multiple permits,” he said.
  • In 2010, when the CITES was planning to suspend trade of red sanders obtained from India, the government submitted a Non-Detriment Finding (NDF) report saying it must be allowed to export from cultivated sources.
  • So in 2012, India got an export quota on red sanders from CITES, under which the country could export 310 tonnes of red sanders obtained from “artificially propagated” sources (grown on farms) and 11,806 tonnes of wood from seized sources.

Source:Downtoearth