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TNAU Develops Highly Profitable Red Sanders 'MTP 1' for Cultivation on Farm Land

The Tamil Nadu Agricultural University has prepared saplings of the highly profitable red sanders (MTP 1) at the Forest College and Research Institute (FCRI), Mettupalayam, in order to increase the area under cultivation in waste and dry land, as envisaged in the State's Special Agriculture Budget.

Shivam Dwivedi
Raising red sanders will help farmers derive robust returns in long run due to  high cost of timber in the market
Raising red sanders will help farmers derive robust returns in long run due to high cost of timber in the market

The Red Sanders is a flora-species that is endemic to a distinct tract of forests in the Eastern Ghats region of Andhra Pradesh and falls under the category of "endangered" in the IUCN Red List. People use it to treat cancer, wounds, digestive issues, fluid retention, and a variety of other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these claims.

Tamil Nadu has set a target of increasing its forest cover from 17 percent to 30 percent, raising red sanders will also help farmers derive robust returns in the long run due to the high cost of timber in the market, according to TNAU Vice-Chancellor V. Geethalakshmi.

The government was figuring out how to make it possible to grow trees on private property. "The farmer will have to wait 18 years to harvest timber from a well-grown tree. However, each tree would yield 100 kg of wood, ensuring a high return. With 3x3 metre spacing, up to 444 trees could be raised in an acre," the Vice-Chancellor said.

For the first time, the FCRI introduced the concept of precision silviculture. The technique employs a canopy, stem, and root engineering system to achieve maximum yield with minimal inputs for both short rotation and long rotation tree species.

This system is suitable for commercial tree farming and is designed for fast growing tree species, allowing cultivators to maximize economic returns per unit area. Conservation Silviculture encourages farmland cultivation of rare, endangered, and threatened tree species.

According to scientists, precision silviculture interventions such as quality seedling planting, drip irrigation, canopy management, and root management practices will eventually improve the growth and development of red sanders and sandal in farm lands.

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