Of the 118 million farmers in India, over 80% are rainfed smallholders, who cultivate on two hectares of land or less. The dependence on seasonal rainfall as well as the small size of landholdings makes them highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. Agroforestry (incorporating trees and shrubs into farmlands and rural landscape) is a useful strategy for such farmers to increase the productivity from their land as well as to increase the resilience to climate change impacts. Taking cognizance of the multiple benefits of agroforestry, the Government of India launched an ambitious National Agroforestry Policy in 2014, to mainstream tree growing on farms. The policy aims to create convergence between various programs, schemes and agencies containing agroforestry elements, in order to enhance the productivity, income and livelihoods of smallholder farmers. The policy also helps meet the increasing demand for agroforestry products such as timber, food, fuel, etc., protecting the environment and natural forests, and minimizing the risk during extreme climatic events. Since the policy was adopted in 2014, grants have been provided to six states and will cover approximately 70,000 ha in agroforestry.
Relationship to CSA
Agroforestry contributes to all three CSA pillars.
- Productivity: Agroforestry systems provide tree products which can supplement diets as well as generate additional sources of income. Using fertilizer trees can improve soil fertility, and generate productivity gains.
- Adaptation: In the short-run, agroforestry can dampen the effects of climate change through microclimate moderation and the conservation of natural resources. In the longer term, agroforestry helps increase the resilience of the landscape, and retain the flow of ecosystems services.
- Mitigation: Agroforestry provides a source of carbon sequestration. Compared to crop and grass systems, agroforestry species provide far more carbon sequestration potential, on par with primary forests.
Impacts and lessons learned
To implement a country wide policy of this nature, coordination and convergence across ministries and schemes is essential. The awareness and availability of finance and insurance schemes is also a key success factor.
Chavan SB, Keerthika A, Dhyani SK, Handa AK, Newaj R, Rajarajan K. 2015. National Agroforestry Policy in India: a low hanging fruit. Current Science 108(10):1826-1834.http://www.currentscience.ac.in/Volumes/108/10/1826.pdf Since ages agroforestry has been known as a traditional land-use system in India. The multivarious benefits and services generated are recognized as a tool to improve the livelihood status of farmers. Commercial agroforestry gained momentum in the regions where it got support from industry and assured market facilities. However, lack of policy initiatives and strict trade regulations has not supported wide adoption of agroforestry. Though prominent agroforestry models are being developed in different parts of the country, there is no clear-cut mechanism from seed procurement to marketing of the products. In this context, the National Agroforestry Policy, 2014 came in limelight to address the issues of quality planting material, tree insurance, restrictions on transit and harvesting, marketing of agroforestry produce, research and extension. This article links highlights of the policy to existing successful ground-level schemes and the challenges to focus on agroforestry not only as a successful land-use system, but also to utilize its full potential in the economic development of the country.
Dinesh D, Frid-Nielsen S, Norman J, Mutamba M, Loboguerrero Rodriguez AM, and Campbell B. 2015b. Is Climate-Smart Agriculture effective? A review of selected cases. CCAFS Working Paper no. 129. Copenhagen, Denmark: CCAFS.https://cgspace.cgiar.org/rest/bitstreams/58510/retrieve Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) is an approach to address the interlinked challenges of food security and climate change, and has three objectives: (1) sustainably increasing agricultural productivity, to support equitable increases in farm incomes, food security and development; (2) adapting and building resilience of agricultural and food security systems to climate change at multiple levels; and (3) reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture (including crops, livestock and fisheries). This paper examines 19 CSA case studies, to assess their effectiveness in achieving the stated objectives of CSA, while also assessing other cobenefits, economic costs and benefits, barriers to adoption, success factors, and gender and social inclusion issues. The analysis concludes that CSA interventions can be highly effective, achieving the three CSA objectives, while also generating additional benefits in a costeffective and inclusive manner. However, this depends on context specific project design and implementation, for which institutional capacity is key. The paper also identifies serious gaps in data availability and comparability, which restricts further analysis.
Government of India. 2014. National agroforestry policy. Department of Agriculture & Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture. New Delhi: Government of India.http://agricoop.nic.in/imagedefault/whatsnew/Agroforestry.pdf This document covers the Government of India's 2014 National Agroforestry policy. The policy document includes a justification for agroforestry, with a presentation of goals, basic objectives as well as a strategy and potential mechanisms and pathways for achieving policy deliverables.