[Cropping] Agroforestry: Meaning, Benefits, National Agroforestry policy 2014- Salient features of

MrunalEnvironment

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  1. Prologue
  2. What is Agroforestry?
  3. Direct Benefits of Agro-forestry
  4. Indirect Benefits of Agro-forestry
  5. National Agro-Forest policy 2014
  6. Mock Questions

Prologue

Topic in news

  1. 2014, Feb: India becomes first country to have separate policy on agroforestry
  2. 2014, Oct: Hindu column listing benefits of Agroforestry.

Relevance for Mains exam?

  • GS2: Government policies for development of various sectors.
  • GS3: (1) Environmental conversation  (2) Cropping Patterns.

What is Agroforestry?

  • The Practice of cultivating trees on farm.
  • Along with traditional cropping and animal husbandry.
  • Practiced from centuries, in both irrigated and rain fed conditions
  • Thus, it’s an integrated tree-based farming system.

Direct Benefits of Agro-forestry

Agroforestry benefits

List the benefits of Agroforestry

  • Trees provide food, fodder, wood, fuel and fertilizers.
  • Biomass, Biodiesel, Biochar and Biogas production.
  • India’s 65% timber needs met through farm grown trees. Hence Agroforestry perhaps the only alternative to achieve 33% tree cover as per National forest policy 1988.
  • Above extra incomes provide one type of ‘backup/insurance’ against crop failure, poor monsoon.
  • Modi’s suggestion to plant five trees for each girl child birth and later sell the trees to finance marriage ceremony.
  • Thus, given the shrinking size of farm-holdings, agroforestry is essential to increase farm income.

Indirect Benefits of Agro-forestry

How agro-forestry fights climate change?
Short
Term
  • Moderates Microclimate
  • Conserves natural resources. (because villagers cutting less trees in jungle)
Long
Term
  • Carbon sequestration (storage of carbon as a biomass)
  • Because tree-species of agroforestry- sequester as much carbon as primary forest trees and far greater than grass and crops.
  • Agriculture land can withstand extreme weather conditions, soil erosion.
  • Prevents deforestation, promotes Soil and water conservation, Nutrition recycling
  • Supplies raw material to wood based industries => less import of wood=> current account deficit reduced.

Overall, Triple wins:

  1. Food production increased
  2. Greenhouse gases decreased
  3. Climate change averted

National Agro-Forest policy 2014

Earlier policies that covered Agroforestry
National Forest Policy 1988
National Agriculture Policy 2000
National Bamboo Mission 2002
National Policy on Farmers 2007
Green India Mission 2010
And finally: national agroforestry Policy 2014, Feb.

Objectives of the new policy

  1. Promote agroforestry to increase farm income and reduce climate risk.
  2. Simultaneously provide raw material to wood based industries.
  3. Thus create new avenues for rural employment, and reduce pressure on jungle.

Now let’s check how this policy aims to “implement” above objectives.

National Agroforestry policy 2014

Salient Features of National Agroforestry policy 2014

#1: Bodies
Main boss
  • National level board to promote Agroforestry
  • It’ll coordinate among various ministries and departments at union and state level
  • It’ll provide ~4k-5k crore rupees per year for agroforestry program
Nodal agency
  • Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DAC)
  • Under Agriculture ministry.

#2: simplify rules

  • At present, multiple rules and regulations by Forest dept, revenue department, the bodies under Forest rights act (FRA), PESA act etc.
  • Policy aims to simplify and streamline such rules.

#3: land reform

  • Farmer / private sector has no motivation to look after a tree for 10-20 years, if the land rights are not firmly established.
  • Therefore, Policy wants state Governments to give settle tenancy rights for farmers, computerization of land records, use satellite imagery to find existing trees in farmland etc.
  • This will also help gauging agroforestry’s contribution to GDP and finetune future planning accordingly.

#4: Research

  • ICAR’s 30+ centres involved in agroforestry research. But hardly any of their innovations implemented on ground. So, Policy wants two things:
  • Setup National Institute of Agroforestry with regional centres in each agro-climatic zones.
  • Give farmers quality seeds, technology and guidance.

#5: loan and insurance

  • Each state Government will have to make list of 20 trees suitable for agroforestry in their area.
  • This will help NABARD, banks and insurance companies to design tailormade loan and insurance products for each region.

#6: fancy things

Convergence Among various schemes for rural Development such as MNREGA, Bambo Mission, NRLM, RKVY etc.
PPP
  • Promote Public private partnership (PPP) for agroforestry
  • On road side/canal side/barren community land/other non-forest waste lands.
Education
  • Include agroforestry in the school syllabus, to motivate younger generation to grow and protect trees.
Awareness With help of NGOs, SHG, media, Krishivigyan Kendra, cooperatives, ATMA- agro.tech.  Management agencies etc.

Mock Questions

MCQ: The tree species used for agroforestry

  1. Have higher carbon sequestration capacity than forest trees.
  2. Have higher carbon sequestration capacity than crop and grass system.
  3. Both A and B
  4. Neither A nor B

Mains: Answer each in 200 words.

  1. Agroforestry is an innovative way to help rural India against poverty and unforeseen weather events. Elaborate.
  2. List the multi-dimensional benefits of Agroforestry.
  3. What is agroforestry? Describe how it can help in the upliftment of the rural poor? (Similar question on Social forestry in 1993).
  4. Discus importance of National Agroforestry policy 2014 for rural Development and forest conservation in India.
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