Government proposes National Forest Policy 2018

National Forest Policy

The draft National Forest Policy 2018, which proposes to allow the use of degraded forest lands by industry, has been welcomed by wood-based industries including paper manufacturers. The draft policy was put into the the public domain for comment and feed in the second week of April 2018.

The new policy draft contains proposals for public-private-partnership for developing degraded forest areas that are available with forest development corporations, and the management of trees outside forests through agro-forestry and farm forestry. The draft suggests that proactive partnerships can increase tree cover and augment farmers’ incomes while meeting wood and fiber demand by the growing wood and paper industries.

Paper industry
Speaking on behalf of the paper industry, Saurabh Bangur, president of Indian Paper Manufacturers Association, said that the proposals cover some of the aspects that it has been pursuing with the Ministry of Environment and Forests over several years. The lack of domestically sourced wood fiber and pulp is a huge constraint for the Indian paper industry, which is reliant on the open market or farm forestry arrangements for fiber and on imports of pulp.

The quality of fiber from forestry that is appropriate for the efficient production of paper is a concern since it is well known that managed and growing forests yield fiber appropriate for paper making as well as providing the best carbon sinks for the environment. Apart from quality, supply and pricing which are concerns, Bangur said that with the new policy the option of paper mills tie-ups with state forest development corporations emerges. I found it in this article that better tree care services and nurturing from the start help produce better materials according to the info .

Seshasayee Paper and Board chairman N Gopalaratnam said agro forestry and plantation on degraded forest land will require substantial financial resources. He suggested that support could be provided to farmers through a Forest Development Finance Corporation with seed capital coming from the Compensatory Afforestation Fund, which is being transferred to the states.

Gopalaratnam further added that although price assurance to farmers is welcome, the price determination will need to be “fair and equitable.” He suggested that the tree species under consideration are also a critical component of the draft proposals and the new policy should also include Subabul and tropical acacia hybrids.

The plywood and board industry are perhaps facing a greater challenge than the paper industry since South-East countries have banned exports of wood-product inputs. While the industry is looking at imports from Africa, the new forest policy is a much needed step in the right direction both for raw materials and managed forests that can provide green cover.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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