South India plywood and panel industry contributes approximately 20 percent of demand in India market. The limited market share has been largely due to lack of a fast growing and sustainable plantation timber that is a must for panel industry. After the success story written by the plywood and panel industries located in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, other states have began taking note of it. In south India, the government, Industry and Planters were not much concerned about the sustainable development of timber plantation a few years ago but now the scenario is changing. Reports gathered from Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana indicate significantly big size plantations of Melia-Dubia (Malabar
Neem) coming up in these regions. Reports suggest that recently Karnataka Government is distributing crores of free sampling to farmers to encourage them for Melia-Dubia plantation, which will be ready for core veneer peeling usage in 6 to 7 years. The state governments also allow farmers to free cutting and transporting of these timbers.
IPIRTI always advocates the bright future of Melia- Dubia for panel products manufacturing and says in a statement that Melia Dubia is a potential species for agro-forestry in diverse climatic and geographical conditions of India. It is a versatile & Miracle Tree. It is fast growing with life cycle of 10 to 25 years & specially suited for production of veneer and plywood. Industry says it has all characteristic to produce high quality plywood and panel products.
The reports and various successful trials with Malabar Neem prove it a very suitable and sustainable raw material for plywood and panel manufacturing. Ground report indicate that increasing production of MDF and Particle Boards due to commencement of new big capacity manufacturing lines in south India is also motivating farmers to plant these timber species.
In last two years, various plywood manufacturers in South India have began using Melia-Dubia for core and face veneer purpose, although it is costlier than Poplar and Rubber timber
but seeing the huge plantation area in lakhs of hectares, the prices will eventually come down and be in accordance to market affordability levels in next 3years.
The future of Indian wood and panel industry largely depend upon availability of raw material, its affordability and supply of timber to the industry. Since timber component contributes
to around 65% of the material cost, Malabar Neem prices will determine the fate of south based industry in next 3 years. The success of North is because of the poplar and eucalyptus availability and affordability that helped North Indian plywood industry to strengthen a lead position. With increasing prices of Poplar logs, there is certainly an opening for south if it gets reasonable priced Melia Dubia.