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May 4, 2024

Indian Paper Industry Urges Government to Allocate Degraded Land for Pulpwood Plantation

The Indian paper industry is calling upon the government to allocate degraded land for pulpwood plantation, aiming to tackle raw material shortages and enhance rural employment opportunities. According to the Indian Paper Manufacturers Association (IPMA), this initiative could be a game-changer for both industry growth and environmental sustainability.

The IPMA emphasizes that there is a significant amount of degraded land available in the country, which, if leased to paper mills for pulpwood plantation, could alleviate the ongoing shortage of wood, the primary raw material for the industry. Pawan Agarwal, President of IPMA, asserts that providing this land on a long-term lease could not only meet the wood demand for paper mills but also benefit various wood-based industries while generating substantial rural employment.

The industry highlights that while it has been actively engaged in agroforestry efforts, there is a pressing need to accelerate pulpwood plantations to cater to the domestic industry’s requirements. Failure to do so could lead to increased imports of wastepaper and wood pulp, placing a heavy strain on both the industry and the economy.

Over the years, the paper industry has collaborated with over 5 lakh marginal farmers, successfully bringing over 12 lakh hectares of degraded land under plantations through agroforestry. However, to meet the estimated 6-7% annual growth in paper consumption, further efforts are required, states IPMA.

The suitability of paper as a biodegradable and sustainable material, especially for packaging and replacing single-use plastic, has been driving its usage across various sectors of the economy. Consequently, the IPMA argues that allocating degraded land for pulpwood plantation would not only bolster the paper industry but also contribute to reducing the country’s carbon footprint.

India aims to bring an additional 25-30 million hectares of degraded land under forest and tree cover by 2030, creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. Allocating degraded land for pulpwood plantation aligns with this goal and could significantly aid in achieving it.

In light of these factors, the Indian paper industry urges the government to take proactive measures to allot degraded land on a long-term lease for pulpwood plantation. Such a step could not only ensure the sustainability of the industry but also contribute to rural development and environmental conservation.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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