Agro-forestry for Food and Wood security: An industry experience in Indiawca2014-LA-045 H D Kulkarni1,* 1Vice President, ITC Limited, Paperboards and Specialty Papers Division, Unit: Bhadrachalam, Sarapaka – 507128, Andhra Pradesh, India
World-over the common practice for growing pulpwood plantation is to plant with a single species in a block on a forest area which was acquired, clear felled and planted. However, the ITC’s initiative on agro-forestry plantations started in on private lands in the year 1992 to meet its wood demand for production of paper and paperboard. The clonal plantations under agro-forestry gave a productivity of 25 t/ha/yr as against 6 t/ha/yr from seed origin plantation.
By now the company has successfully promoted 158,000 ha plantations plantations. In the first phase, block plantations are raised with a spacing of 3 x 1.5 m with 2222 trees / ha. The intercrop is taken in between the lines in the first year only as the canopy closes in the second year onwards. A new concept was evolved after a series of experimental trials with different planting geometry wherein, pulpwood trees are planted apart either in a single or double row (Alley cropping) leaving a wide gap of 8 m to allow maximum sunlight for growing food crops in-between the lines. The model accommodate 2000 trees / ha and the land allocation is 25% for tree crops and 75% for agricultural crops. Every year the farmer can take food crops regularly and harvest the trees after 4 years interval. In case of crop losses due to draught, flood, pest and diseases, the income from tree hedge the risk. The novelty of the agro-forestry model is to improve the farm productivity and profitability while conserving the environment and bringing diversification on farm lands. By now, ITC has put up “Agro-forestry for wood and food security” demo plots in Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh over an area of 4000 ha.
The agro-forestry plantations of 158,000 ha over one cycle of 4 years, create an estimated wood asset value of INR 5530 cr (yield of 100 t/ha and average price of Rs.3500/t), off-set 28.9 million tons CO2 and create employment for 71 million persons days from various activities thus greening the triple bottom line (Environmental, Societal and Economic) and creating enduring value to the nation.