Western Australian sandalwood golden age

Mia Davies MLA, Vince Catania MLA, Aaron Edmonds and Paul Brown MLC.INSATIABLE demand for WA sandalwood is creating a golden opportunity for farming businesses in the Wheatbelt, according to Member for Central Wheatbelt and Minister for Forestry Mia Davies.
Mia Davies MLA, Vince Catania MLA, Aaron Edmonds and Paul Brown MLC.INSATIABLE demand for WA sandalwood is creating a golden opportunity for farming businesses in the Wheatbelt, according to Member for Central Wheatbelt and Minister for Forestry Mia Davies.

Ms Davies visited two properties in the Wheatbelt this week, and met with farmer Aaron Edmonds of Calingiri who incorporated plantation sandalwood into the family business 15 years ago.

“In the early 2000s, Aaron and his family discovered that parts of their 2000ha farm were no longer profitable to crop,” Ms Davies said. “They made the decision to diversify and started planting sandalwood trees into sandy soils, perfect for our native sandalwood species.

“By utilising the sections of the property that weren’t profitable through traditional cropping programs, they have reduced their input costs considerably and have a product that will provide a healthy return.”

The family have also introduced stock into the plantations, which is assisting with weed management and improved seed collection capacity.

Ms Davies said farms like the Edmonds’ would become increasingly important as the market for West Australian sandalwood continued to grow.

“Wild Western Australian sandalwood has been earning export income for the State since 1844 and it currently accounts for more than 60 per cent of the world’s supply of sandalwood products,” Ms Davies said.

The traditional markets, China, Malaysia, Taiwan, have consistent and significant demand, and there’s a growing market in Europe and America for cosmetic and pharmaceutical products using WA sandalwood as a key ingredient.