[ Prafulla Kaman ]
RUKSIN, 2 Jan: After rubber and oil palm cultivation, the farmers here in East Siang district are eyeing mahogany tree farming.
About 20 farmers of Ngorlung village have started mahogany (Swietenia mahagoni) plantation in 30 hectares of land at Ngorlung Moruk, near the Industrial Growth Centre in Ngorluk.
One of the farmers, Ajom Tarang (50), of Ngorlung village, said that an Itanagar-based NGO inspired him to adopt mahogany cultivation on a commercial basis. The NGO also conducted a training programme on mahogany tree farming at Ruksin and supervised the plantation activities at the initial stage.
Tarang said that he has successfully grown 5,000 trees in his farmland and the saplings are now four years old.
The farmers urged the state government to prepare a scheme to help the mahogany planters, considering the importance of the tree species.
Mahogany is considered one of the most priced timber trees in India. It grows to 60 metres in height and can have a trunk diameter measuring up to 4 to 5 metres. One thousand plants can fetch an income of about Rs 1 crore in 10 years.
The seeds are also sold at a high price as these are used to produce medicines and cosmetics.
Swietenia mahagoni, commonly known as American mahogany or small-leaved mahogany, belongs to the meliaceae family and is native to the tropical areas of south Florida in the United States and the islands of the Caribbean, including the Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, and Hispaniola. It is commercially imported for its best quality timber with high durability and water resistance property.