In news : Recently, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare signed a MoU with the Central Silk Board (CSB) under the Ministry of Textiles on a convergence model for the implementation of Agroforestry in the silk sector under the ongoing Sub-Mission on Agroforestry (SMAF) Scheme.
Key updates on Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
Aim of the convergence model
- It aims to incentivize the farmers to take up sericulture based Agroforestry models thereby contributing to the Make in India and Make for the World vision of the Prime Minister.
- The Union Ministry said that this linkage will add another dimension to agroforestry for faster returns to the growers as well as support the production of the range of silks that India is famous for.
- It was also mentioned that CSB, Ministry of Textiles, will act as a catalyst to promote Agroforestry in the silk sector.
- Sericulture host plants: The initiative of formalizing the collaboration in the sericulture sector is especially targeted for augmentation of sericulture host plants e.g. Mulberry, Asan, Arjuna, Som, Soalu, Kesseru, BadaKesseru, Phanat, etc.
- Importance: Planting sericulture based tree species on the farm bunds and rearing silkworms has the potential of creating additional income opportunities for farmers besides their regular source of income from agriculture activities.
About Sub-Mission on Agroforestry(SMAF) Scheme
In order to make agriculture less vulnerable to climatic aberrations, Government of India formulated the National Agroforestry Policy in 2014. The policy recommends for setting up of a Mission or Board to address development of agroforestry sector in an organised manner. The Sub-Mission on Agroforestry (SMAF) under NMSA is an initiative to this end
Aim: It aims to encourage farmers to plant multi-purpose trees together with the agriculture crops for climate resilience and an additional source of income to the farmers, as well as enhanced feedstock to inter alia wood-based and herbal industry.
- 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 popularise 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.
The Sub-Mission is 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.
Assistance to farmers & other beneficiaries
It provides 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.
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.
- Low Density Plantation on Farm Lands(LDPFL) : LDPFL 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 Plantations on farm lands( HDBP): 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.
- Capacity Building & Trainings : Capacity Building and Training will be one of the important interventions of the sub-mission
- Demonstration of Agroforestry Models