| Vanadurgi Agarwood India Ltd currently owns and/or manages over 5,000 plantations. It is emerging as one of the world’s largest groups of agarwood plantation companies. Plantations are developed in the unique plantation model of inter-cropping system which has the lowest production cost with no parallels elsewhere in the world. Agarwood was introduced to South India by our organisation, and today, about 99% of plantations spread across South Indian states are promoted and managed by our organisation. Over 30% of trees in the project are planted by members of the Vanadurgi Group and its associates, and the remaining trees are planted in contract with farmers through a unique plantation development, management, processing and marketing model. Genetically-traced best varieties are introduced in order to increase the productivity and quality. Most of our plantations are located in cold, humid, heavy rainfall zones wherein trees are naturally drilled by insects, followed by fungal infection and resinous wood formation. Most of our plantations are in an elevation ranging between 2,000 ft and 3,500 ft from MSL, in climatic zones that have freezing winters and warm summers, conditions necessary to produce the best quality of resinous wood.
Agarwood in South India:
Commercial cultivation of agarwood was introduced in the Western Ghats region of South India by Vanadurgi in the year 2000. After intense research, the very first large scale plantation was established at Vanadurgi Estate in the year 2004. Later on, following its success, the crop is spread to various geographical locations of Karnataka and other South Indian states. Today, over 95% of plantations in South India is located in the evergreen forests of Karnataka, and over the last two years, small scale plantation is going on in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh as well. Bold initiatives taken by our organisation, along with long-term services, complete agarwood solutions and buy-back assurance of mature trees resulted in the large scale development of plantations.
Our plantation system:
Agarwood is grown in mono-crop and inter-crop systems along with companion commercial crops. Cultivating agarwood as shade trees in coffee estates has proven to be very beneficial in every manner. Over 2,500 coffee estates are planted with agarwood numbering about 75 to 100 per acre in estates growing the Robusta variety of coffee, and 150 to 200 plants per acre in estates growing the Arabica variety of coffee. Agarwood is also grown as an alternative plant in over 1,400 areca nut farms wherever sufficient place is available. In about 160 coconut farms, about 200 agarwood trees per acre are planted in single or double row system. About 67 plantations have taken up the mono-cropping of agarwood by planting 540 seedlings in an acre, in 9X9 spacing, by adopting advanced cultivation and irrigation system. In a few lower elevation tea gardens, agarwood is planted in valleys where trees can withstand the air current. In around 156 cardamom plantations, about 400 agarwood trees per acre have been planted as alternative shade trees. Agarwood is mix-planted in farm forestry along timber trees such as teak, mahogany etc. A number of plantations have also grown agarwood as border crops, along the fence.
The company has developed plantations in various climatic zones, which can be broadly divided into four types:The best zone has about 50 % of trees which are cultivated as rain-fed crops in high ranges of coffee plantations. Climate in this zone has about 6 months of rainy season which encourages natural resinous wood formation; three months of very cold season, and later hot summer - all these will create stress to trees, producing the best quality of agar oil. About 25% of trees are developed in the same climatic zone, but trees are irrigated in summer as they are inter-cropped with irrigated commercial crops, therefore the oil quality will be comparatively inferior.The third zone is in the slightly lower elevation, and also intermixed with irrigated crops. This is expected to produce very inferior agar oil. Plantations are raised in various climatic zones, mostly in plain lands, in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, where mixed quality products are expected. Over all, most of our trees are grown in semi-shade, under some other commercial trees, thus minimising the problem of leaf-eating caterpillars, while also safeguarding the trees from drought, especially when they are inoculated.