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NITI Aayog Launches GROW Report and Portal to Promote Agroforestry and Wasteland Restoration

Today, Prof Ramesh Chand, Member of NITI Aayog, unveiled the Greening and Restoration of Wasteland with Agroforestry (GROW) report and portal at NITI Aayog headquarters. This collaborative effort led by NITI Aayog utilized advanced remote sensing and GIS technologies to evaluate agroforestry suitability across all districts in India.

The GROW initiative introduces an Agroforestry Suitability Index (ASI) developed through thematic datasets, enabling national-level prioritization for greening and restoration projects. The comprehensive report offers state-wise and district-wise analyses, providing valuable insights to government departments and industries involved in environmental conservation and land restoration efforts.

The newly launched “Greening and Restoration of Wasteland with Agroforestry (GROW)-Suitability Mapping” portal on Bhuvan offers universal access to state and district-level data, empowering stakeholders with crucial information for informed decision-making. Currently, agroforestry covers 8.65% of India’s total geographical area, demonstrating its significant potential for sustainable land use practices.

Prof Ramesh Chand emphasized the urgent need for promoting agroforestry, citing its potential to address multiple challenges, including reducing wood imports, mitigating climate change through carbon sequestration, and optimizing the utilization of arable land. He underscored the transformative impact of converting fallow and wasteland areas into productive agroforestry landscapes, highlighting the long-term benefits and the integration of space technology in agricultural practices.

During the panel discussion, experts emphasized the pivotal role of the GROW portal in various government initiatives aimed at promoting agroforestry and raising awareness among stakeholders. Panelists highlighted the importance of scaling up agroforestry practices for greening and restoration, emphasizing its alignment with national commitments and global sustainability goals.

The Union Budget of the Government of India for FY-2022-23 has recognized the significance of promoting agroforestry and private forestry as a priority, reflecting the government’s commitment to sustainable land management practices. With approximately 16.96% of India’s Total Geographical Area classified as wasteland, the adoption of geospatial technologies and GIS for mapping and prioritizing these areas for agroforestry interventions is crucial for achieving environmental sustainability and enhancing agricultural productivity.

India’s pioneering National Agroforestry Policy of 2014 underscores the country’s commitment to enhancing productivity, profitability, and sustainability through agroecological land use systems. By integrating trees, crops, and livestock, agroforestry addresses multifaceted challenges related to food security, nutrition, energy, employment, and environmental conservation, aligning with global sustainability frameworks and initiatives.

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