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AP Paper Mills to promote farm forestry in wasteland

C.R. Sukumar


The benefits
Farmers can gain up to Rs 16,500 per acre on an investment of Rs 7,000 per acre of casuarinas.
To meet the growing demand for seedlings, the company has developed 284 nurseries spread over seven districts of Andhra Pradesh.

Hyderabad , April 28

As part of its corporate social responsibility programme, Andhra Pradesh Paper Mills Ltd (APPM) has joined hands with the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) and Indira Kranthi Patham (IKP) to help alleviate poverty in tribal areas.

APPM plans to promote eucalyptus, subabul and casuarina plantations on marginal and degraded farmlands belonging to tribals in several districts of Andhra Pradesh, according to APPM General Manager, Mr J.K. Jain.

"The target is to cover 4,000 acres of forestland in four years. It will provide employment to 4,000 families and inflow of Rs 400 lakh per annum in tribal areas. We are encouraging large-scale plantation of pulpwood only in cultivable wastelands of tribal areas," Mr Jain told Business Line in Rajahmundry recently.

Outlining the benefits of pulpwood plantation overconventional crops, Mr Jain said farmers can gain up to Rs 16,500 per acre on an investment of Rs 7,000 per acre of casuarina, compared to a gain of Rs 5,800 per acre on an investment of Rs 7,000 per acre for paddy crop and Rs 15,000 per acre profit on an investment of Rs 15,000 per acre for commercial crops like sugarcane.

ITDA Project Officer, Mr J. Murali said that so far 500 acres forestland belonging to tribals was brought under pulpwood cultivation withAPPM's help. In the next phase, around 1,000 acres of forestland would be identified for a similar initiative. In all, ITDA could identify 22,000 hectares of cultivable wasteland out of 2.8 lakh hectares of tribal land spread over 135villages, he said.

"We are supplying quality saplings free of cost to tribal farmers with a condition that they sell the pulpwood to us. We deduct the cost of saplings at the time of harvesting," Mr Jain said.

As part of the farm forestry programme, the company has till date supplied 341 million quality seedlings and stumps to over 25,000 beneficiariesin the coastal districts of Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam and Nellore. To meet the growing demand for seedlings, the company has developed 284 nurseries spread over seven districts of Andhra Pradesh.

"Keeping in view the growing demand for our saplings, we have set a target of distributing and planting 68 million seedlings, including 2 million clones for the current year in an estimated area of 11,000 hectares. We have identified 14,761 sq km of wasteland availability in the seven districts we are currently operating, which accounts for 22.69 per cent of total geographical area of these districts," Mr Jain said.

More Stories on : Society & Development | Rural Development | Paper | rd & Newsprint | Andhra Pradesh

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