India is the first country in the world to implement such a program, which aims to overcome many of the barriers to agroforestry adoption in the country, such as unfavorable policies, weak markets, and a lack of institutional finance.
In his introductory remarks, Honorable Shri Pranab Mukherjee stated, “Agroforestry generates food, fuel, and fiber, contributes to nutritional security, supports livelihoods, helps avoid deforestation, improves biodiversity, protects water resources, and decreases erosion.” He went on to say, “The cylinders can no longer remain idle; it is time to fire,” referring to the importance of agroforestry to India’s economy.
The strategy is considered as critical not only to India’s lofty target of 33% tree cover, but also to delivering many of the other benefits highlighted during the Congress, such as increased food and nutrition, as well as providing fodder, fuelwood, and lumber for India’s burgeoning population.
Crop yields have been found to be higher in forest-influenced soils than in regular soils. Taungya cultivation in Uttar Pradesh’s Tarai region harvested higher yields of maize, wheat, pulses, and other crops without using fertilizer.
Grain and wood yields have been reported to be 20% higher in agroforestry areas of Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh than in pure agriculture. Trees and fodder crops (including fodder trees) are more cost-effective, especially on marginal soils.
In rainfed states like Odisha, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh, a large number of households collect fuelwood from the fringe woods.
The states with the lowest percentage of households in this group were Assam, Kerala, and Meghalaya. Punjab and Nagaland were sandwiched between states with a middling level of firewood harvest.
According to observations made in Rajasthan’s hot dry and semi-arid regions, marginal lands are incapable of supporting steady and active agricultural crop cultivation. Silvopasture made up of growing trees like Prosopis, Albizia, Zizyphus, and Acacia species can provide a variety of benefits. In Haryana, eucalyptus agroforestry has proven to be more profitable than pure agriculture.
According to a study, rainfed agroforestry can help maintain forest edges while also achieving sustainable development goals such as poverty reduction, climate action, biodiversity protection, and sustainable land management.
Timber production on farms currently generates 450 employment days per hectare per year in India, making agroforestry a viable option for reducing rural unemployment.
In India, Agroforestry is currently implemented on 13.5 million hectares, but the potential is enormous. Already, farm trees provide over 65 percent of the country’s timber and nearly half of its fuelwood.
Also Checkout: Seed Development In India
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