World Congress On Agro Forestry 2014
World Congress on Agro forestry was opened on 10th February 2014 in New Delhi, India.
India‘s President Honorable Shri Pranab Mukherjee, opened the Congress and stated that “The cylinders can no longer remain idle; it is time to fire,” he said, making reference to the importance of agroforestry to India’s future. “Agroforestry produces food, fuel and fibre; contributes to nutritional security; sustains livelihoods; helps prevent deforestation; increases biodiversity; protects water resources, and reduces erosion,” he said.
Meanwhile India announced a US30–40 million investment in its first-ever national agro forestry policy designed to put more trees back on farms to benefit the people and the environment.
The announcement was made my Rita Sharma, India’s Secretary of the National Advisory Council that helped develop the policy. She was speaking this week at the World Congress on Agroforestry 2014 in New Delhi, India
The policy is expected to benefit the country’s farmers through incentives for agroforestry, insurance schemes and greater access to markets for agroforestry products. According to President Mukherjee, the policy will not only help farmers but will also help the environment and mitigate against the negative effects of climate change. “Tree-based production systems abound in the tropical regions of the world. Yet, natural conservation has taken a backseat owing to the restless human drive towards urbanization, industrialization and food production. It has also suffered the impact of climate change, which has captured global attention now. “2014 should be a defining moment for evolving tree-based production systems to fight the debilitating impact of climate change in agriculture.”
The win-win policy brings together India’s agroforestry guidelines into one central document. It establishes an agroforestry commission dedicated to agroforestry and will overhaul regulatory mechanisms relating to agroforestry produce. In India, agroforestry is being practiced throughout the country in about 13.5 million hectares. However, the potential to expand this, especially with small marginal farmers, is enormous.
Eighty per cent of India’s farmers are smallholders with two hectares or less and 60 per cent of the cultivated area relies on infrequent and low rainfall. This land is on the margins of agricultural productivity, is stressed by lack of water and has low biodiversity.
Dr. S Ayyappan, Secretary of the Department of Agricultural Research says the policy will mainstream agroforestry into agricultural policies, promote agroforestry as a farming system and will encourage participation of industries in agroforestry.