Raw material security must to make paper industry competitive: IPMA

India is the fastest-growing paper market in the world with growth being experienced across almost all segments. However, ensuring raw material security is a major concern for meeting the surging demand, Indian Paper Manufacturers Association (IPMA) has said.

The paper industry in India has been exhibiting one of the fastest growth being witnessed anywhere in the world and is most likely to continue this growth trajectory as the country’s economy is better placed to weather the storm caused by global upheavals.

After subsiding during Covid, the demand for paper has made a robust recovery in the ongoing financial year and has overtaken pre-pandemic levels. In view of the large potential for growth, aided by a growing economy, the paper industry is expected to witness demand growth in sync with the projected economic growth of 6-8 per cent per annum, said AS Mehta, the outgoing President of IPMA.

‘Raw material security is must’

However, for consistent growth of the industry, raw material security is a must. Currently the cost of procuring wood in India is upwards of $100 per tonne while the same in other competing countries is $60 per tonne. Being cost competitive is a prerequisite to emerge as world leaders and for that raw material security needs to be strengthened, Mehta added.

Paper industry driven agro-forestry initiative being undertaken in collaboration with over 5 lakh farmers needs to be augmented to a large extent to meet the current and future needs of the industry for pulpwood. So far, with the efforts of wood-based paper mills, 12 lakh hectares has been brought under agro/farm forestry across the country, with significant environmental benefits.

Harsh Pati Singhania, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, JK Paper Ltd, underlined the need for co-opting other wood based industries such as plywood, furniture manufacturers, construction industry for agro/farm forestry.

“We need to increase the recovery rate of waste paper in the country through source segregation, effective collection and utilisation of wastepaper. We should use the term ‘recovered paper’ rather than ‘wastepaper’ to send across a positive message. Paper can be recycled 5-7 times, which few other products can match”, he added.

Two international experts, Andreas Endters, President and CEO, Voith Paper GmbH, Germany; and Tomi Amberla, Director, AFRY Management Consulting, Finland, made the keynote presentations on “Paper Industry: Trends & Future Outlook – Global & India”.

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