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National Agroforestry Policy UPSC NOTE


  • Agro forestry is a land use system that integrates trees, crops and animals in a way that is scientifically sound.

  • It integrates 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.

National Agroforestry Policy, 2014

  • In 2014, India became the first country to adopt an agroforestry policy - National Agroforestry Policy (NAP) - to promote employment, productivity, and environmental conservation.

  • In 2016, a  under the NAP was launched, with nearly ₹1,000 crore to transform agroforestry into a national effort with the tagline: “Har medh par ped” (trees on every field boundary).

  • In the 2022-23 Union Budget, the Finance Minister of India announced that the Government of India would promote agroforestry.

Challenges and Opportunities

  • The five-year ‘Trees Outside of Forests India’ (TOFI), a joint initiative of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change seeks to enhance tree cover in seven Indian states (Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Haryana, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh) by identifying promising expansion opportunities and engaging the right levers.

  • But, water availability and transition finance have been recurrent concerns for smallholders across these states

Challenges and Opportunities

  • Moreover, water availability is critical during the sapling stage but remains a constant concern if the trees compete with crops for water in water-constrained environments (e.g. hard rock aquifers and low-rainfall regions).

  • One way to overcome this constraint is to grow trees that don’t compete with the crops for water

    • For example, mango plantations don’t compete with kharif crops in the central Karnataka plateau whereas coconut trees in Tamil Nadu’s uplands demand more water than crops throughout the year.

  • Choosing the right species for the right place and the right reason is elemental for agroforestry to enhance the sustainability of livelihoods. 

  • Finding native species that fit multiple criteria is admittedly challenging but necessary to arrest or reverse land degradation while diversifying livelihood opportunities. 

  • Decision support tools that leverage extensive plant functional trait databases for hundreds of tree species to identify appropriate species may be helpful in such cases.

  • ‘Diversity for Restoration’ is an example of such a tool. 

  • It provides a tailored list of climate-resilient species while aligning with the restoration objectives.

  • Solutions to agroforestry as a sustainable land-use practice suffers from a lack of systemic support for financing this transition and lucrative market linkages

  • New and existing government policies and schemes that can facilitate this transition are standardised, accounting neither for land-holding size nor, importantly, regional biophysical variabilities. 

  • As a result, these schemes inherently exclude smallholders.

  • The adoption of agroforestry at scale in India must include smallholders, who hold most of India’s agricultural land. 

  • Yet this is currently stymied by both ecological and socio-economic factors. 

  • Although secure land tenure is a prerequisite for agroforestry uptake, ensuring economic viability through market linkages while meeting the criteria of sustainable agroforestry is crucial to empower these farmers.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: National Agroforestry Policy UPSC NOTE
National Agroforestry Policy UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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