The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Central Silk Board on a convergence model for the implementation of Agroforestry in the silk sector under the ongoing Sub-Mission on Agroforestry (SMAF) Scheme.
- To encourage and expand tree plantation in complementary and integrated manner with crops and livestock to improve productivity, employment opportunities, income generation and livelihoods of rural households, especially the small farmers.
- To ensure availability of quality planting material like seeds, seedlings, clones, hybrids, improved varieties, etc.
- To popularize various Agroforestry practices/models suitable to different agro ecological regions and land use conditions.
- To create database, information and knowledge support in the area of agroforestry.
- To provide extension and capacity building support to agroforestry sector.
To achieve these objectives for stimulating the growth of agroforestry in India, SMAF will have following multi-pronged strategy:
- Expanding the coverage under tree plantation in arable land suitable to local agro climatic and land use conditions to provide livelihood, environmental and bio diversity protection by encouraging farmers to grow trees in their farmland along with crops/cropping systems and/or livestock as an integral component of farming system.
- Promoting setting up of new small nurseries and hi-tech big nurseries for producing quality planting materials like seeds, seedlings, clones, improved varieties to meet the requirement of quality planting material /seeds for the farmers.
- Promoting various Agroforestry practices/models suitable to different agro ecological regions and land use conditions that will support adaptation and mitigation efforts in climate change. Promoting sustainable Agrisilvicultural systems, Silvipastoral systems, Agrisilvopastoral system, other systems of agroforestry viz. Apiculture with Trees, Aqua forestry etc.
- Promoting Peripheral and Boundary Plantation on farms will serve as fencing of farm, demarcation of farm boundary, stabilizing farm bonds, protecting from soil erosion, improving soil moisture, enrichment of soil organic matter without affecting coverage under crops.
- Low Density Plantation on Farm Lands including intermediate/strip plantation, High Density Block Plantation will also be supported in complementarily with crops/cropping system as agroforestry system.
- Creating database on area under agorforestry, status of soil organic carbon, information and knowledge support etc. with use of ICT.
- Capacity building / training for Development officials/workers, scientists and farmers under National & International exchange programmes; extension activities including Demonstration of suitable Agrisilvicultural, Silvipastoral, agrisilvopastoral system etc., Seminars/workshops / conferences/fairs & exhibitions and exposure visits at National and International level.
- Implementation of the scheme only in the states having liberalized transit regulations for transport of timber and will be extended to other states as and when such relaxations are notified by them. Liberal transit rules will be a precondition for availing the benefit of the programmme.
- Endemic and other species including trees of medicinal value suitable to the agroclimatic conditions will be promoted under the programme. Any species which are exotic, not suitable to the agro-ecology and not part of approved afforestation programme will not be supported.
- Soil Health Cards will be made a pre-requisite for farmers getting the benefit under the programme to indicate the soil carbon status and facilitating assessment of Soil Carbon improvement from time to time.
- The choice of stock type (bare-root or container or poly bags) used may depend on species, local availability, planting method preferred or cost. It is important that the seedlings for plantation should be of the highest quality possible. The shoot and root systems of the stock must be large enough and in balance so that the seedlings have a good probability of establishing and competing successfully in the field. A good fibrous/tape root system is desirable for most species. Seedlings should be free from diseases, and appear healthy. In particular, checking the quality of the roots system will be emphasised. It is important to be satisfied that the plants conform to Forest/Horticulture Department’s regulations or, any other National/State regulations on quality.
The Sub-Mission has following broad interventions:
- Nursery Development for quality planting material (NDQPM) : Assistance shall be given for nurseries (small, big & hi-tech nurseries) for producing quality planting material to meet the requirement of planting material.
- Peripheral and Boundary Plantation(PBP) : To make potential use of the area occupied by these bunds around the periphery of the farmers fields, tree species can be grown as peripheral/boundary plantations to add more income to the farmers’ basket. This will not only make effective use of the precious land for livelihood support but also for generating additional income opportunities to the farmers. It will also help in stabilising the bunds and reducing soil erosion.
- Low Density Plantation on Farm Lands(LDPFL) : Low Density Block Plantation (HDBP) ranging from more than 100 plants/ha to more than 500 plants/ha without sacrificing the yield of the existing crops/cropping systems, shall be incentivized at the proportionate rates as applicable to per plant expenditure.
- High Density Block Plantation (HDBP) : High density Block Plantations on farm lands( HDBP) will be supported as a complementary source of income to the farmers. Differential planting densities ranging from more than 500 plants/ha to 1500 plants/ha as intermediate blocks / strip plantations /wind breaks would be supported. Farmers can take up block plantation in waste and degraded land not suitable for growing crops to make productive use of these land in creating livelihood and income opportunities for them. In addition, the tress will help in enriching the soil and making it fertile & more productive thereby bringing land under crops in times to come.
- Capacity Building & Trainings : Capacity Building and Training will be one of the important interventions of the sub-mission. Activities like training of farmers/field workers with a view to ensure growing quality planting material, skill development, awareness campaign, Publications, Information sharing, exposure visits at national and international levels, seminars/Workshops at national/international levels etc. would be supported under this. States can utilise upto 5% of the allocated funds for capacity building and training activities.
- Demonstration of Agroforestry Models: Specific projects for demonstration to bridge the yield gap and for extension purposes on area specific innovative agroforestry models by SAUs / ICAR Institutes/ CAUs/CSIR/ICFRE institutes / State Government/ other National & International level agencies/ organizations will be supported particularly in the field of climate resilient agroforestry system & studies on carbon foot print, carbon sequestration, nitrogen fixation etc., with the approval of Project Sanctioning Committee on case to case basis.
Funding Pattern & Pattern of Assistance
- The Sub-Mission on Agroforestry will be operational under the umbrella of NMSA and funding pattern 60:40 as GoI: State Govts basis for all states excepting for 8 states of NE Region, the hilly states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir where it would be 90:10 fund sharing. For UTs, the assistance will be 100% from GoI.
- Farmers would be supported financial assistance to the extent of 50% of the actual cost of the interventions (limited to 50% of the estimated cost as indicated in the Cost norms) for the respective interventions.
- Farmers groups/ Cooperatives/Farmer Producers Organization (FPO) can also avail the benefit of the programme but the assistance can be accessed as per norms and provisions applicable to the individual farmers.
- At least 50% of the allocation is to be utilized for small, marginal farmers of which atleast 30% are women beneficiaries/ farmers. Further 16% & 8% of the total allocation or in proportion of SC/ST population in the district will be utilized for Special Component Plan (SCP) and Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) respectively.