Harvesting and exporting of sandalwood still being prohibited, MAF warns

'Oku taupotu ha fakamatala faka-Tonga 'i lalo

The Ministry of Forestry has warned that harvesting and exporting of sandalwood in Tonga were still being prohibited.

The warning came after the Ministry received reports sandalwood plants had been harvested and stolen in Ha’apai.

Sione Foliaki from the Ministry’s office in Tongatapu said he was aware of the reports.

He said it was reportedly announced on local radios reminding the public that harvesting and exporting of the “protected” plant were illegal.

According to the Ministry it “could be classified as a threatened species in the sense that it is very vulnerable to theft – so much so that the Tonga Timber Company is no longer planting sandalwood.”

“This (sic) species needs special protection if it is to develop as a sustainable export industry,” the Ministry said.

Sandalwood was a type of plant which yields fragrant timber and oil.

Known in Tongan as ahi, the plant was significant not only economically but in the sense that it served as important sources for body oil making process. The oil was used by the nobility and the royals.

In 2014 the Australian’s Tropical Forestry Services (TFS), which has plantations in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland, has secured a deal with an undisclosed pharmaceutical company, to sell sandalwood oil for $4,500 per kilogram for up to 20 years.


  1. ‘Oku kei tapui pe hono ta mo hū atu ki tu’apule’anga ‘a e ahi’ ko ha fakatokanga ia mei he Potungāue Vaotātā ‘a Tonga’.

    Ko e faka-tokanga ‘eni hili ‘a e līpooti pehē mei Ha’apai kuo ta’aki mo kaiha’asi e ‘akau kuo mātu’aki mahu’inga’ ni.

    ‘Oku a’u foki a ahi’ ia ‘i he ngaahi fonua hangē ko ‘Aositelēlia’ ki he mahu’inga ko e pa’anga $4,500 ‘Aositelēlia ki he kilo.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here