The Government of India in the wake of acceptance of the recommendations of National Commission on Agriculture contained in their report on "Production and Man made Forests" in 1972, sanctioned the establishment of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Forest & Plantation Development Corporation Ltd., which was incorporated under the Companies Act, 1956 on 21.1.1977 with headquarters at Port Blair. The main objective of forming the Corporation was to develop and manage the inaccessible forests in Little and North Andaman on the principle of sustained annual yield and to undertake cultivation of agricultural and horticultural crops i.e. red oil palm, rubber, spices, medicinal and aromatic plants.
The activities of the Corporation are as follows:
The Corporation has been leased 19600 ha of forest areas in Little Andaman and 11188 ha in North Andaman. The lease extends to a period of 30 years commencing 01-04-1977.According to the project report approved by the Government of India, the forests of Little Andaman were taken over and forestry operations started from 1.4.1977. Later, forestry operations were extended to North Andaman forest area from 1.4.1979. The project encompasses scientific harvesting and regeneration of forests on the principle of sustained annual yield. At present as per the interim order passed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in I.A 502 of 1999 in WP(C) No. 202 of 1995 (T.N.Godavarman Thirumalpad vs. U.O.I & Others) the felling of naturally grown trees has been suspended and consequently, the Corporation is anticipating to incur considerable financial loss and the present position has been brought to the notice of the Administrative Ministry.
As a corollary to the drive for producing more edible oil in the country, the Government of India sanctioned a Project Report for raising 2400 ha of Red Oil Palm plantation in Little Andaman Island. Under this programme, an area of 1593 ha has also been brought under Red Oil Palm plantation.
The Forest Corporation commenced implementation of the plantation project in 1979. It was envisaged that after the first phase of plantations involving 2400 ha. the plantation area would be extended to 5000 ha. to make the project viable. However, in 1985-86, there was a sudden shift in the policy and the Govt. of India in January 1986 imposed a ban on further extension of red oil palm plantation in these Islands in view of the adverse ecological impact perceived due to monoculture cultivation of red oil palm.
Gestation period of Red Oil Palm is relatively long, varying from 6 to 10 years. To process the fruits produced in the Red Oil Palm Plantations, a fruit processing mill with a capacity of 1.5 MT Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFB) per hour was established in the year 1985. This capacity was enhanced by 4 MT FFB/hour in May, 1992. The existing capacity of the mill is sufficient for the fresh fruit bunches produced in the Plantations.
This project was started as a rehabilitation project in 1967 by the Rehabilitation Ministry for the rehabilitation of the Srilankan repatriates. The Rubber Board, which was looking after this project raised only about 600 ha. of rubber plantation as against the original target of 2,400 ha. As this project was besieged with many internal problems and since the Rubber Board was unable to run this as a commercial venture, the Government of India entrusted its management to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Forest & Plantation Development Corporation Limited from Ist April, 1983. Today, this 614 ha (Gross area) of Rubber Plantation. From 1997-98, the Corporation has commenced replantation of old Rubber Plantation also. Enlargement of the area under rubber plantation attracts Forest(Conservation) Act 1980. National Forest Policy 1988 also discourages plantation of monoculture by replacing naturally grown forests.