21 January 2022, Punjab: The Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), organised a workshop on “Consortium on Industrial Agroforestry – A Value Chain Approach” under ICAR-NAHEP-CAAST Project in collaboration with State Forest Research Institute Ladhowal, Ludhiana. This workshop was planned with the suggestions and guidance of Sh Praveen Kumar, IFS Principal Chief Conservator Forest, to provide a common platform to different stakeholders and learn from a successful existing model of timber production and marketing i.e., Tamil Nadu model of Industrial Agroforestry. About 92 delegates comprising officers of State Forest Department, industry officials, progressive tree growers, representatives from NGOs, scientists from different states (Punjab, Haryana, Uttrakhand, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and Chandigarh, etc.) and students participated in the workshop.
The Chief Guest of the programme, Sh Kumar emphasised on strengthening the consortium with the involvement of different stakeholders and expressed that from next season department will provide good quality planting stock to the farmers.
Ms Gitanjali, IFS, made presentation on quantification of ecological services of plantations. Sh Ajay Jhakar, Ex-Chairman, Punjab Farmers Commission, voiced his concern to strengthen research on good quality planting stock, system productivity, contract farming, linkage with industry, support under MGNREGA and carbon trading. Sh CN Pandey, Sh Ramakrishna, Sh Gurpreet Singh and other participants discussed the issue and shared their thought process in framing the consortium in the Punjab State.
Dr SK Chauhan, Prof and Head, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, welcomed the participants and moderated the proceedings of the workshop through virtual mode.
Dr KT Parthiban, Dean, Forestry College and Research Institute, Mettupalayam, Tamil Nadu shared his experience of last 15 years in making the system fruitful and win- win situation for the tree growers and wood based industry through a consortium mode. He presented the value chain in production to consumption system.
Dr RC Dhiman discussed the WIMCO Model of contract farming and expressed to generate basic information on past trends in plantations and basic data on timber demand-supply. He stressed the importance of developing a consortium for regulating sustainable timber supply and pricing. Also, he emphasized for research and development support from the wood based industries.
Sh SB Sabharwal, Plant Head, Century MDF Unit, Hoshiarpur intimated the present state of constraint in wood availability and their model of promoting agroforestry in Hoshiarpur district. He emphasized to support the research and development at the unit site.
Sh Harmohanjit Singh, a progressive tree grower, expressed concern over fluctuating timber prices and stressed that the industry/government including financial institutions should support the farmers on market intelligence and information for timber pricing to adopt on-farm plantations.
Sh Vishal Chauhan, IFS, proposed a vote of thanks. It was intimated that framework will be discussed soon to develop the consortium so that the industry as well as the farmers are benefitted. The State Forest Department will extend helping hand to the farmers to increase area under tree cover in the state.