SONIA’S YET ANOTHER GIFT TO FARMERS
Writes to PM to mount a national agroforestry mission to reward farmers for growing trees and other woody perennials
NEW DELHI : Congress president Sonia Gandhi has written to the Prime Minister to announce India’s first agroforestry policy and mount a national agroforestry mission to reward the farmers for growing trees and other woody perennials in their agricultural lands side by side with crops.
She forwarded recommendation of the National Advisory Council (NAC) she heads last week for mounting the mission ahead of the third World Congress on Agroforestry to be co-hosted in Delhi from February 10 to 14 by the World Agroforestry Centre and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
Stressing need for changing the landscapes by mounting the tree-based value chains that will result in ecological and financial benefits, the NAC has called for the government to spend Rs 4,000 crore annually on the mission.
The Prime Minister has rushed Sonia’s recommendation to the Agriculture Ministry to quickly prepare the mission.
Though the world Congress being hosted in India has been cited for rolling out the mission fast, an eye on the Lok Sabha elections the next may can not be ruled out as the farmers will be doled out money for planting saplings of tree and bamboos in their fields.
Sources in the Agriculture Ministry said the draft mission document estimate the burden of only Rs 200 crore on the exchequer as rest of the money for the Rs 4,000-crore-a-year mission will come from half a dozen under schemes of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (MGNREGP), National Rural Livelihood Programme, National Garden Mission, Women farmers empowerment, Green India Mission and National Agriculture Development Plan.