Minor Forest Based Industries PDF  | Print |  E-mail



The objective of the present study is to analyse and understand the relative dependency of different forest-based industries on forests and their survival strategies in the context of diminishing forest cover and non-availability of timber in the Western Ghats of Karnataka, India. A stratified sampling technique was adopted to select small-scale industries and a census method was used to choose medium and large-scale industries. The study found that Government policy was mainly responsible for the fast growth of forest-based industries in the selected districts. Forests provide raw materials to large, medium, and small-scale industries. Hence, forests are a source of life for the forest-based industries. As the New Forest Policy (1988 and 1992) restricts the felling of green trees, the industries are now facing the problem of raw material shortages. Among the industries taken up for the study the medium and large-scale industries have better prospects than small industries. Many small wood-based enterprises, cart manufacture for example, experience problems. More afforestation and a commitment by the forest department to supply forest produce to industries is the only way for sustained survival of small-scale wood-based industries in the Western Ghats of Karnataka, India.
Timber industry in India was initially confined to produce building materials, agriculture implements, bullock carts, and railway sleepers. Forest based industries were encouraged because of its rural identity and its ability to solve the problem of unemployment and poverty. In addition, the policy makers had also perceived that natural resource based industrial development is a pre-requisite for the economic development of less developed countries like India. Hence, the Government, both at the Centre and State encouraged establishment of small, medium, and large-scale forest based industries in the region. Due to this policy, the country witnessed heavy pressure of industries on forests for raw material purpose.
This paper attempts to fill this void by exploring some important issues relating to growth of forest industries and their reliant on forests for survival. The major objective of the present study is to analyse and understand the relative dependency of different forest based industries on forests and their survival strategies in the context of shrinking forest cover and non-availability of timber. Shimoga and Uttar Kannada (hereafter referred to as UK) districts[2] of the Western Ghats[3] of Karnataka was selected for the present study.
The study was based on both primary and secondary data. The secondary data pertaining to forest dependence, intake, and outturn of logs and timber supply to local industry and other related data were collected from forest department, statistical bureau, and the Karnataka Industrial Development Corporation. In order to assess the extent of industrial dependency on forests, primary data was collected from two types of respondents. The respondents who directly depend on forests for their survival, such as the small scale industries form first category and the higher officials from medium and large scale forest based industries represent as second category of respondents.
Stratified sampling technique was adopted to select small-scale industries and census method was used to collect data from medium - and large-scale industries. All the registered small enterprises in the District Industrial Centre (DIC) were considered for selection. 10 per cent (124) of the total units registered at the DIC was selected for the present study. Using the census method two large and one medium scale selected industries. A well framed and pre-tested interview schedule was used to collect the primary data from the sample respondents. The fieldwork was carried out during the year 1993 and the secondary data was collected for a period of two decades, 1973-74 to 1991-92. The collected data was analysed with the help of simple statistical tools such as ratio’s, growth rate - linear and compound, and co-efficient of variation.