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The Cabinet today approved a national policy to promote agroforestry by facilitating credit and insurance to farmers, besides strengthening market access.
"The Cabinet has approved the national policy on agroforestry," sources said.
The national policy assumes importance as the sector is currently affected by adverse policies, legal constraints, inadequate investments, weak markets and a dearth of institutional finance.
The policy will enable farmers to reap the benefit of agroforestry, which has potential to achieve sustainable crop production, improved livelihood in rural households, stable ecosystems and resilient cropping and farming systems.
New farming approaches are needed to meet the demands of a growing population for food, fodder, firewood and timber in the backdrop of shrinking land and water resources for agriculture and the increasing threat of climate change.
The national policy is in line with the recommendations of the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council, which had suggested setting up a National Agroforestry Mission or an agroforestry board with an investment of Rs 200 crore.
The council also suggested providing institutional credit and insurance cover for agroforestry, market access to farmers and incentives to adopt agroforestry, besides facilitating industry participation.
Agroforestry is a land use system which integrates trees and shrubs on farmlands and rural landscapes to enhance productivity, profitability, diversity and ecosystem sustainability. It is known to have the potential to mitigate the effects of climate change.