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Odisha gearing up for massive pulpwood plantation drive

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credits: papermart.inBhubaneswar: In a move to increase livelihood options in tribal-dominated areas against the backdrop of the changing climatic conditions, Odisha has decided to go in for massive pulp wood plantation covering 60,000 hectares over the next five years.

The plantation will be carried out in the public private partnership (PPP) mode, according to a note prepared by the state government.

It said the stress on pulpwood plantations would lead to a win-win situation for farmers and paper manufactures, as the project would cater to the needs of both.

Vagaries of climate and an uncertain market, as also pressure from middlemen, have led to the farmers incurring losses from crop cultivation.

“Through this PPP model, the poor farmers will get direct benefits from their produce through a direct marketing channel of the company,” said the concept note prepared by the state horticulture department.

The project will be implemented in Koraput, Rayagada, Nabrangpur, Malkangiri and Gajapati districts.

The interested industries and the horticulture department would identify the farmers for pulpwood plantations, to be carried out in the horti-forestry model.

“The government will facilitate and encourage the farmers to go for pulpwood plantations if they have land. It will be a buy-back system, ensuring a win-win situation for both the farmers and the paper manufacturing companies,” Horticulture Director Susanta Nanda told a media outlet.

He said it would provide ample scope for sustaining a large number of agro-industries which generate immense employment opportunities.

The government expects the project to generate 20 million man days, which will uplift the socio-economic condition of the tribals.

“The farmers will enter an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the companies so that paper manufactures buy their plants for use in their industries,” Nanda said.

Odisha has a number of paper manufacturing companies, including J.K Paper and Emami Paper Mills, which will benefit from the pulpwood plantations.

“It’s a great initiative by the government. We are happy to partner with the government. The scheme would carter to the need of the company and immensely benefit the farmers in tribal areas,” a senior official of J.K. Paper, which has a paper manufacturing mill in Rayagada district, told the media outlet.

Many paper industries are importing raw material from Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh to run their mills as raw material is scarce in Odisha, sources said.

As the continuous rise in raw material costs is squeezing their profit margins, paper manufacturers have increased the area under pulpwood cultivation over recent years.

According to a study by Emkay Research, total sowing by leading paper producers was at 315,127 hectares in 2012-13 against 268,246 hectares in the previous year and 202,284 hectares in 2009-10 across the country. (IANS)

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This is How Stubble Burning is Avoided in Odisha

The state is one of the largest producers of rice in the country

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Stubble Burning, Odisha, North India
Agriculture in Odisha is the mainstay of the majority of the populace. Pixabay

Unlike north India, crop stubble burning is not prevalent in Odisha even though it has started making inroads unto several parts of the coastal state.

Air pollution due to stubble burning has turned a critical health hazard in north India.

Agriculture in Odisha is the mainstay of the majority of the populace. The state is one of the largest producers of rice in the country. The state government has fixed a target of procuring 60 lakh metric tonnes of paddy during the kharif marketing season (KMS), 2019-20.

However, instead of burning the stubble, the farmers use the paddy straw in various ways such as cattle feed, compost manure, roofing of thatched houses, biomass energy and mushroom cultivation.

Stubble Burning, Odisha, North India
Air pollution due to stubble burning has turned a critical health hazard in north India. Pixabay

“In Odisha, we don’t resort to paddy residue burning unlike in north India where pollution level has increased manifold due to crop stubble burning and other reasons. We cut down the paddy straw and bring it for using cattle fodder and roofing of thatched houses,” said farmer leader Akshay Kumar.

“I have purchased paddy straw of Rs 50,000 for mushroom cultivation. I have been doing mushroom cultivation for several years. Sometimes, I have purchased paddy straw at a higher price as many people have adopted the cultivation since it gives good profit,” said Stephenson Sahu from Patharkhamb village in Dhenkanal district.

Moreover, Odisha is going to have a Second Generation (2G) Ethanol Bio-Refinery, first in the country to produce ethanol using rice straw as feedstock, in Bargarh district, one of the major paddy producing districts in the state.

The bio-refinery to be set up by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) will utilise about two lakh tonnes of rice straw annually as feedstock which will be sourced from nearby locations.

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The agriculture sector provides employment to more than 60 per cent of the population, making it the largest employment sector of the state.

The state has total geographical area of 155.71 lakh hectares of which total cultivated land is about 61.80 lakh hectares, which constitute about 39.69% of the total geographical area of the state. Small and marginal farmers form more than 90% of the farming community, according to a report of the Agriculture Department. (IANS)