The national agroforestry policy of India: experiential learning in development and delivery phases uri icon


  • In 2014 India became the first country to adopt a national agroforestry policy. The Governmentof India announced this policy in order to resolve the bottlenecks that had emerged at theinterface of existing policies for agriculture, forestry, water and environment, recognizing thatland use by its very nature must be integrative. This working paper describes the process thatled to the development of the agroforestry policy and analyses it in terms of various types ofknowledge and know-how required to facilitate the change. It explains various phases of thepolicy development process required to bring about a sufficiently broad coalition for change tofully take advantage of the nested-scales nature of agroforestry, from trees, through farms andfarmers to landscapes and livelihoods, ultimately culminating in land and agriculturalgovernance and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).This phased approach allowed for a structured and deliberate process of clarifying views,considering evidence and reaching a consensus on the elements of a policy that could serve acountry as large and diverse as India. More importantly, the process was supported by keyinstitutional actors such as the National Advisory Council (NAC), which facilitated twonational consultations, and hosted seven specific group deliberations, supported by variousministries at the Union Level and in key states with the support of research and technicalinstitutions such as the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the Indian Council ofAgricultural Research (ICAR).Over a period of three years, the first two meetings were held at intervals of one year, andthereafter seven meetings held in the third year. All these drew key actors from variousinstitutions to create a platform for change. This platform was then transformed into a workinggroup, created by NAC, comprising government, industry, NGOs, civil society organizationsand ICRAF, as well as financial institutions. Based on the feedback from 14 meetings androundtable discussions with various stakeholders, the working group produced a draft policydocument. The NAC facilitated meetings with â??interestâ?� categories (policy formulation andgovernance, federal and state level institutions, industry, R&D institutions, financialinstitutions, etc.), to collate feedback on the draft policy; in this case starting at the higher levelof government. Following consolidation of the feedback, the working group decided toincorporate other teams and shared the final draft of recommendations with policy influencers,policy supporting officials in government, industry, the private sector, charity organizations,and other institutions. Finally, the drafting of the policy was launched by a drafting committee(approved by authorities). The NAC was consulted on drafting committee members frommultiple sectors and from public and civil society organizations. At the end of what became afour-stage process, the final draft of the policy was shared widely, further feedback obtained,finalized and sent to the Prime Ministerâ??s Office and Cabinet Secretariat for approval. Theapproval of the agroforestry policy was effected in February 2014.Subsequently, a high-level Inter-Ministerial Committee, headed by the Secretary ofAgriculture, has been monitoring its implementation. In its third year of implementation, thepolicy, as described in this case study, has been successful in bringing together agricultural,environmental and rural development sectors, and includes stakeholders such as farmers,NGOs, the private and public sectors, research institutions, etc. The policy has also beeneffective in freeing some farm-grown tree species from felling and transit regulations in manyof the Indian states, in upgrading of national R&D institutions, and formulation of a newNational Sub-Mission on Agroforestry to promote agroforestry. The emergence of a morecomplete, equitable and self-sustaining value chain seems promising. The process of this policyvidevelopment has also been recognized and is being used in neighbouring countries in SouthAsia

publication date

  • 2016