KOLKATA, MARCH 17
FMCG major, ITC Ltd is piloting a social agro-forestry project in the Malkangiri district of Odisha by distributing fast-growing Eucalyptus and subabul saplings to farmers. The project is expected to help shore up raw material (pulpwood) sourcing for the company’s paperboard factory at Bhadrachalam in Telengana.
According to Sanjiv Puri, CEO, ITC Ltd, the plan is to take up the social forestry project in Odisha to 50,000 hectares “over a period of time”.
The move is also in line with the company’s import substitution strategy that is: reducing dependence on import of pulp.
“We have begun a social forestry project at Malkangiri and would like to scale it up over a period of time. Apart from providing sustainable livelihoods to farmers, it would also help in being a source of pulpwood to our paperboard unit in Telangana,” he said on the sidelines of the eastern regional meeting of the CII here in the city.
The Saberi river bridge connecting Chattisgarh and Hyderabad has made the Malkangiri district of Odisha an important catchment area that can aid raw material procurement for ITC’s paperboard unit at Bhadrachalam.
In fact, ITC under its afforestation initiative has worked extensively with farmers to have a green cover encompassing over 6,80,000 acres. The programme has generated over124 million person-days of employment (among poor tribals, marginal farmers and farm workers).