• ITC's Afforestation Programme - Greening
    over 11.75 Lakh acres

The Indian Context

Many Indian farmers own degraded lands unsuitable for growing crops. For small farmers, this is creates an extremely difficult situation as they are barely able to earn enough to get by, let alone make the investments necessary to grow crops successfully and so remain locked in poverty and debt.

ITC's Contribution

ITC's Afforestation Programme assists farmers to turn their unproductive land assets into profitable pulpwood plantations, using clonal saplings specially developed by ITC R&D to grow in harsh conditions. Social Forestry is for impoverished farmers who are motivated to form Forestry Groups through which they get loans, subsidised clonal stock as well as technical support and training. There is a particular focus on Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Caste households - who are generally among India's most economically and socially marginalised groups. Farm Forestry is for better-off farmers who can invest in growing pulpwood plantations.

The Programme brings multiple benefits to multiple stakeholders. Plantation incomes are significantly higher, especially beneficial for poor farmers, helping them to step away from penury and deprivation. For Indian paper producers, the plantations create a raw material source that is local, renewable and responsible. They also contribute to expanding the country's green cover thereby enabling large scale sequestration of carbon dioxide, enriching depleted soils and replenishing groundwater.

ITC's Afforestation Programme

Greening degraded lands, creating sustainable livelihoods, augmenting India's green capital through multi-stakeholder partnerships

Forestry Groups


Primary Beneficiaries, Key Decision-makers, Financial Contributors, Small & Marginal Farmers / Scheduled Caste & Tribe Households



Project Implementation, Domain Expertise, Local Experience

Academic /


Research & Best Practices, Appropriate Technology



Facilitator, Programme Design, Funding, Monitoring & Evaluation

Strategies and Key Interventions
  • Enabling small farmers to earn sustainable livelihoods from unproductive landholdings
  • Social Forestry including Agro-Forestry

    Social Forestry including Agro-Forestry

    Target Group: Economically disadvantaged small/marginal farmers who own low productivity lands

    Mobilised to form Social Forestry Groups through which they receive comprehensive assistance to grow pulpwood plantations - loans, subsidised clonal stock, training in plantation management practices, etc.

    Loans repaid to Group after first harvest to create corpus fund used to finance further plantation activity, develop community assets, emergency loans for Group Members so they do not have to resort to moneylenders, etc.

    ITC is a willing buyer of pulpwood at prevailing market rates but plantation owners are free to sell to any buyer of their choice.

    Agro-forestry = Food/cash inter-crops + pulpwood saplings on same plot of land in specific spacing pattern so as not to affect wood productivity, therefore annual income (inter-crops ) + Lump-sum income every 4 years (pulpwood trees)

  • Providing environmental & economically positive alternative land-use option
  • Farm Forestry

    Farm Forestry

    Farmers with sufficient finances encouraged to grow pulpwood plantations on low productivity/degraded landholdings for higher earnings and environmental benefits.

  • Building robust community institutions
  • Social Forestry Groups

    Social Forestry Groups

    All ITC support - financial, technical, training, etc - is provided through the Group as a community institution. As a platform for co-operative action, the Group also enables poor farmers to pool resources for better advantage, e.g. buying quality inputs at bulk rates, hiring land clearing equipment, etc

  • Innovating through R&D
  • Clonal Development Programme

    Clonal Development Programme

    ITC has developed a variety of pulpwood saplings that are hardy and suited to harsh local conditions to ensure that the plantations are commercially viable. A variety of soil-specific clones have been developed so far - compared to standard saplings:

    Productivity: 3-6 times higher

    Survival Rate: 95% vs. 40-60%

    Harvesting Cycle: 3-4 years rather than 7 years

    They have been a key factor in the scale achieved by ITC's Afforestation Programme
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