India plans to become less dependent on wood imports

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The Indian Prime Minister is pursuing an expansion of domestic industrial wood production with the aim of raising the income of farmers and of making the country less dependent on wood imports. To achieve this he plans to coordinate the efforts of all State Forest Departments and private sector organisations.

The plan calls for the cultivation of industrial wood lots and plantations along farm boundaries as well as within the farm.

In addition to expanded farm forests the Prime Minister wants to see large scale plantations on rural nonagricultural land for example alongside roads, along railway lines and along canal banks.

The main purpose of this plan is to allow India to be more self-sufficient in wood products which will ease the import burden which today runs into billions of dollars. It is estimated that approximately 5 million hectares of lands is available for this project.

Along with encouraging planting, the government will remove current regulations that restrict felling, transport and sale of trees grown on private land.

This issue was discussed with representatives of states in a national consultation held last month. Though some States expressed reservations, citing limits on available land, most agreed to address changes to regulations and come up with plans to encourage planting.

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