Eucalyptus

Harnessing the sustainable development potential of a cash crop to improve farmer livelihoods

BACKGROUND

Eucalyptus has been an incredibly successful cash crop in India with over a million hectares of government-owned and private large-scale plantations, as well as profitable smallholdings, in existence. Large numbers of low-income families have seen their livelihoods improved by eucalyptus. It has proved possible to grow the species economically on both farm and wasteland.

Eucalyptus wood is the ideal material for the pulpwood industry and demand is expected to grow to 20 million tonnes per annum by 2017, a 50% increase on current global production.

THE PROJECT

Developing a 60,000Ha hardwood plantation capable of generating over 1million tonnes of industrial wood each year. Expand on the existing nursery to create a series of nurseries, each with an annual production capacity of 3million saplings. Introduce a large outgrower scheme, and promote the use of an agro-forestry model, whereby intercrops are grown between rows of trees.

Partnering with a multi-billion dollar Indian conglomerate to off-take the eucalyptus in the early stages and to build a pulpwood mill representing a $300m investment once supply is ensured.

DEVELOPMENT OUTCOMES

The “Future Fuel Programme” promotes the use of lops and tops of eucalyptus as fuel and reduces local destruction of indigenous forests for firewood.

Eucalyptus is ideal for an outgrower scheme as it is so hardy and needs very little care after the first few months. The large scheme improves small farm productivity and promotes improved agricultural practice to grow intercrops, as well as good forestry practice.

The project also creates employment, builds agricultural infrastructure including an agro-processing facility and provides social services.