'Geographical indicator can control smuggling, earn profits for India'

THREE agencies the biodiversity board, forest department and technology development corporation of Andhra Pradesh have initiated steps to procure a geographical indicator for red sandalwood.

Dr Hampaiah, director of AP Biodiversity board, said, "Geographical indicator is like a patent. Red sandalwood is a unique species grown only in AP. So, we would be approaching the patent office in Chennai to obtain a geographical indicator for red sandalwood."

"India is the only country in the world where red sandalwood is found. There are attempts by other countries to grow red sandalwood, considering its huge demand in international market ranging up to Rs 25 lakh per tonne. If we get a geographical indicator, no other country would be allowed to grow red sandalwood. With all permissions, legal trade of red sandalwood can be done on sustainable basis. It would generate profits to the tune of hundreds of crores for the country, curb smuggling and generate employment opportunities for many, particularly farmers," he said.

"So, the biodiversity board, forest department and technology development corporation of Andhra Pradesh are compiling details like where the red sandalwood is found and in how much area. The DNA test of the species will also be done," he said.

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