India can turn wood, paper as major export items: FAO

Written by Press Trust of India | New Delhi | Updated: May 25 2012, 06:09am hrs
India has potential to make forest produce like wood and paper as major foreign exchange earner and UNs Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) is ready to extend knowledge and technological assistance for the same, a top FAO official said on Thursday.

India can turn wood and paper as its major export items by pursuing a sustainable forestry policy, Eduardo Rojas Sriales, assistant director general, forestry department, FAO, told PTI.

He said India could ship these items in large volume to Africa, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Latin American countries.

Sriales was here in connection with a day-long international conference on paper, woods and forestry organised by Indian Paper Manufacturers Association (Ipma) with the support of FAO.

Representatives of wood and paper industries from 24 countries, including Russia, Brazil, Japan, Australia, Canada, Germany, Finland, New Zealand and South Africa, participated in the meet. The FAO official cited example of Vietnam which has turned its forestry products as major foreign exchange earner.

Through sustainable afforestation policy India could transform its forest wealth a major commercial venture.

India exported wood and paper worth R4,102.55 crore in 2007 which constituted 0.80% of its export. The paper industry employs around 1.5 million people and is ranked among countrys 35 high priority economic sector. R Narayan Moorthy, secretary general, Ipma, said over the last one decade, industry led farm forestry have brought around 0.5 million hectare under pulp wood plantation mostly in Andhra Pradesh.

Moorthy and Madhukar Mishra, president, Ipma said the paper industry has suggested the government to formulate a policy for utilisation of degraded forest areas in an around paper industries for greater availability of raw material for the purpose.