National agroforestry policy of IndiaIndia

Background 1 2 3

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. 


  • 1

    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. 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.
  • 2

    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. 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.
  • 3

    Government of India. 2014. National agroforestry policy. Department of Agriculture & Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture. New Delhi: Government of India. 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.

Welcometoclimate-smart agriculture 101

scroll to discover

This site is your gateway to implementing climate-smart agricultureIt will help you get started and guide you right through to implementation on the ground, connecting you with all the resources you need to dig deeper.

scroll to start

CCAFS Climate-Smart Agriculture 101

The basics

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an integrative approach to address these interlinked challenges of food security and climate change, that explicitly aims for three objectives:

A. Sustainably increasing agricultural productivity, to support equitable increases in farm incomes, food security and development;

B. Adapting and building resilience of agricultural and food security systems to climate change at multiple levels; and

C. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture (including crops, livestock and fisheries).

Entry points

Agriculture affects and is affected by climate change in a wide range of ways and there are numerous entry points for initiating CSA programmes or enhancing existing activities. Productivity, mitigation and adaptation actions can take place at different technological, organizational, institutional and political levels. To help you navigate these myriad entry points we have grouped them under three Thematic Areas: (i) CSA practices, (ii) CSA systems approaches, and (iii) Enabling environments for CSA. Each entry point is then described and analysed in terms of productivity, adoption and mitigation potential and is illustrated with cases studies, references and internet links for further information.

Develop a CSA plan

Planning for, implementing and monitoring CSA projects and programmes evolves around issues of understanding the context including identification of major problems/barriers and opportunities related to the focus of the programme; developing and prioritizing solutions and designing plans; implementation; and monitoring and evaluation. Most major development agencies have their own framework for project and programme formulation and management but CCAFS has developed a specific approach for planning, implementing and assessing CSA projects and programme called CSA plan. CSA plan was developed to provide a guide for operationalizing CSA planning, implementation and monitoring at scale. CSA plan consist of four major components: (1) Situation analysis; (2) Targeting and prioritizing; (3) Program support; and (4) Monitoring. evaluation and learning.


To meet the objectives of CSA, such as agricultural development, food security and climate change adaptation and mitigation, a number of potential funding sources are available. For instance, climate finance sources may be used to leverage agriculture finance and mainstream climate change into agricultural investments. This section offers an overview of potential sources of funding for activities in climate-smart agriculture (CSA) at national, regional and international levels and for a number of different potential ‘clients’ including governments, civil society, development organizations and others. Additionally, it includes options to search among a range of funding opportunities according to CSA focus area, sector and financing instrument.

Resource library

CSA Guide provides a short and concise introduction and overview of the multifaceted aspects of climate-smart agriculture. At the same time it offers links to references and key resources that allows for further investigations and understanding of specific topics of interest. In the resource library we have gathered all the references, key resources, terms and questions in one place for a quick overview and easy access that can be used as a part of or independently of the other sections of the website. The resource library is divided into six sections; (1) References – list all publications, links and blogs referred to on the website; (2) Tools – list all the CSA tools presented on the website; (3) Key terms – explains the most important and frequently used terms related to CSA; (4) Frequently asked questions (FAQ) – provides a rapid overview of the most common questions asked on climate-smart agriculture; (5) About – where you can find out more about the purpose and structure of, as well as on the organizations and authors behind the website; (6) Contact.

Case studies

Local case studies

Filter by entry points