Agroforestry is defined as a land use system which integrate trees and shrubs on farmlands and rural landscapes to enhance productivity, profitability, diversity and ecosystem sustainability. It is a dynamic, ecologically based, natural resource management system that, through integration of woody perennials on farms and in the agricultural landscape, diversifies and sustains production and builds social institutions.
Major policy initiatives, including the National Forest Policy 1988, the National Agriculture Policy 2000, Planning Commission Task Force on Greening India 2001, National Bamboo Mission 2002, National Policy on Farmers, 2007 and Green India Mission 2010, emphasize the role of agroforestry for efficient nutrient cycling, organic matter addition for sustainable agriculture and for improving vegetation cover. However, agroforestry has not gained the desired importance as a resource development tool due to various factors.
A policy which deals with problems faced by agroforestry sector, including adverse policies, weak markets and a dearth of institutional finance was approved by the Cabinet in February 2014. India became the world's first country to adopt a comprehensive agroforestry policy.
- Encourage and expand tree plantation in complementarity and integrated manner with crops and livestock to improve productivity, employment, income and livelihoods of rural households, especially the small holder farmers.
- Protect and stabilize ecosystems, and promote resilient cropping and farming systems to minimize the risk during extreme climatic events.
- Meet the raw material requirements of wood based industries and reduce import of wood and wood products to save foreign exchange.
- Supplement the availability of agroforestry products (AFPs), such as the fuel-wood, fodder, non-timber forest produce and small timber of the rural and tribal populations, thereby reducing the pressure on existing forests.
- Complement achieving the target of increasing forest/tree cover to promote ecological stability, especially in the vulnerable regions.
- Develop capacity and strengthen research in agroforestry and create a massive people's movement for achieving these objectives and to minimize pressure on existing forests.
- Establishment of Institutional Setup at National level to promote Agroforestry
- An institutional mechanism, such as a Mission or Board is to be established for implementing the agroforestry policy. It will provide the platform for the multi-stakeholders to jointly plan and identify the priorities and strategies, for inter-ministerial coordination, programmatic convergence, financial resources mobilization and leveraging, capacity building facilitation, and technical and management support.
- The Ministry of Agriculture has the mandate for agroforestry. Agroforestry Mission / Board will be located in the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DAC) in the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA).
- The actual implementation may involve convergence and dovetailing with a number of programmes.
- Agroforestry research and development (R&D), including capacity development and pilot studies / testing and action research should be the responsibility of the ICAR
- In the proposed institutional arrangement the current stakes of the key ministries are to be respected and utilized.
- Simple regulatory mechanism - There is a need to create simple mechanisms / procedures to regulate the harvesting and transit of agroforestry produce within the State, as well as in various States forming an ecological region. There is also the need to simplify procedures, with permissions extended on automatic route as well as approval mode through a transparent system within a given time schedule. There are regulations imposed by multiple agencies of State governments (viz. Department of Forest, land revenue, other local bodies) on harvesting and transit which have negative implications on the 8 growth of agroforestry. All these restricting regulations need to be identified and aligned with the proposed simplified mechanism.
- Development of a sound database & information system
- Investing in research, extension and capacity building and related services
- Improving famers’ access to quality planting material
- Providing institutional credit and insurance cover for agroforestry
- Facilitating increased participation of industries dealing with agroforestry produce
- Strengthening farmer access to markets for tree products.
- Incentives to farmers for adopting agroforestry
- Promoting sustainable agroforestry for renewable biomass based energy
To access the complete policy document, click here.
- Guidelines on ‘Felling and Transit Regulations for Tree Species Grown on Non-Forest/ Private Lands
- Operational Guidelines Sub - Mission on Agroforestry (SMAF) Under National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA)