The policies for the promotion of agroforestry by the Government of India can provide a fillip to the paper industry with regard to raw material security, besides also increasing the green cover of the country.
February 16, 2022
In her Union Budget 2022-23 Speech, Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharman stated that pertinent policies for the promotion of agroforestry and private forestry will be brought in, with financial support from the government. This announcement, in addition to increasing the green cover in the country, is also of special importance to the pulp & paper industry. The government’s support has been praised and welcomed by the Indian paper industry.
Hailing the government’s support in this regard, the paper industry views this as an extremely helpful move for the paper industry in terms of boosting raw material security.
According to the views shared by the Indian Paper Manufacturers Association (IPMA), the paper industry has worked incessantly over the last several years and has successfully brought 12 lakh hectares of largely degraded land under plantations in association with over 5 lakh farmers. The association is also welcoming the Union Finance Minister’s assurance of enabling policies and legislative changes to promote agroforestry.
Besides the paper industry’s own agroforestry initiatives, the availability of additional 25 lakh hectares of land for agroforestry will be very helpful in ensuring raw material security for the wood-based industries. It is also noteworthy to mention that the Indian paper industry plays a significant role in promoting trees-outside-forests (ToF).
Mr. A S Mehta, President, IPMA, said that the Finance Minister’s emphasis on policy initiatives for agroforestry has got the paper industry upbeat. Also, the paper industry has made relentless efforts to bring the degraded land under plantations. Even so, the efforts of the paper industry in encouraging plantations and the availability of wood are still in short supply.
Thus, the policies and legislative changes to promote agroforestry within the various schemes of the Government of India, as well as loans/other credit facilities as given in the case of agriculture crops, can be an encouraging move for the paper industry.
If additional 25 lakh hectares of degraded land in the country is utilised for agroforestry, IPMA said it can provide employment to about 10-15 lakh personnel besides increasing the incomes of farmers and the country’s tree cover. This will also provide environmental benefit, and generate adequate raw materials for all wood-based industries.
As reported by Paper Mart in November last year, the Indian paper industry had requested the government to allow pulpwood plantations on degraded forest land and available land near paper mills which would also increase the green cover in the country. The IPMA emphasised that raw material security is of crucial importance for the paper industry to be self-reliant.