‘Increase agroforestry to meet demand, curb CO2 emissions’

May 13, 2023 07:49 pm | Updated 10:43 pm IST - MUMBAI

With demand for plywood increasing by 10% per annum in line with urbanisation and India embarking on ambitious net-zero targets, a top industry executive has called for an urgent need to increase agroforestry cover in India to address these demands.   “Today, India’s forest cover is about 25% and out of this 16% is natural forest and the rest 9% is plantation. The forest cover in India has increased from 21% to 25%. So, 4% has been contributed by agroforestry [in recent years] and this is basically supported by the plywood industry,” said Sajjan Bhajanka, chairman, Century Plyboards India Ltd.

He said various state governments were trying to augment agroforestry as it contributed to the environment, helped in reducing carbon footprint, and caused rainfall.  “But the impact has been very less due to several factors,” he added. 

“And whatever growth has come in India is basically on commercial parameters and commercial compulsions because people are getting better yields,” he said.  

“In a PPT presentation I had submitted to the Prime Minister, I suggested that we have about 14 to 15 million hectares of arable land in the country. So, if 5% of that land would come under plantation, India’s forest cover would increase from 25% to 30% of the entire surface area,” he said, adding a shift in policy could bring in transformational changes. 

He said this would bring the country closer to the national target of 33%. 

He said the increased forest cover would result in about 190 million cubic metres of additional agroforestry.  “So, if we start doing it in the next 10 years, we can gradually increase the carrying capacity and then our domestic market will grow,” Mr. Bhajanka added. 

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