The clonal technology has potential for the country to increase the productivity of its vast land resources. Plantations of 1,42,000 hectares with 780 million saplings has created an asset value of Rs. 4697 crores (US$783 million) in the form of wood. Average net income from clonal plantation is Rs 25,000 (US$ 416) per hectare per annum under rain-fed condition and Rs.40,000 (US$ 666) per hectare per annum with irrigation at 4-years rotation. This is significantly higher compared to traditional crops and at much lower risks. Plantations are playing an increasingly important role in rural economic development and poverty alleviation by providing an estimated employment for 75.48 million person days form tasks such as nursery, planting, logging and maintenance operations.
The 1,42,000 hectares with 780 million saplings has created hectares of plantations acting as carbon sequestration farm having the potential to sequester 5.73 million tonnes of carbon, reducing 20.9 million tonnes of Carbon di oxide from one cycle of 4 years. For the 3 cycles spread over 12 years, it is 62.7 million tonnes of CO2 reduced. The clonal plantations were irrigated with treated effluent water. The unique nature of Subabul is utilised as fodder for live stock feeding helping the farmers to garner more money through dairy farming.
Moreover, ITC plantations have contributed in increasing the green cover in Khammam district while conserving in-situ moisture, groundwater recharge, reduction in topsoil losses and increase in soil fertility and conservation of natural forest resources.
On 15th September 2005 under the Sunfeast Hara Banao Plantation drive ITC Bhadrachalam unit planted 3,00,587 saplings in 20 minutes with 16,317 people in 16 villages covering 264 acres in Khammam district of Andhra Pradesh. This surpassed the Guinness book of world record held by Canada with 1, 34,000 saplings planted in one hour with 23,000 people.
Climate Change – CDM Project
The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project entitled “Reforestation of severely degraded landmass in Khammam District of Andhra Pradesh, India under ITC Social Forestry project” is registered with United Nations Framework on Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) since 5-6-2009. The project started on 14-9-2000 covering 3070.19 ha area belonging to 3398 farmers of 193 villages in 14 mandals of Khammam district of Andhra Pradesh. In this project tribal farmers who own the plantations have authorized the Mandal samakhyas to take forward the CDM project.
The agreements are between Tribal farmers and Mandal Samakhyas and Mandal Samakhyas and ITC. ITC will facilitate the project by providing technical help in developing the Project. When the CERs are sold through ITC, the expenditure incurred by ITC will be deducted and rest will be distributed to the tribal farmer beneficiaries. The Total CERs for the 30 years crediting period is Rs. 17, 33,753 and the Annual CERs are 57,792. Recently (14th Dec 2012), the UNFCCC has issued 404897 L CERs which will be sold in due course.