Sub-Mission on Agroforestry (SMAF) Scheme

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    In News: The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare signed a MoU with the Central Silk Board under the Ministry of Textiles on a convergence model for the implementation of Agroforestry in the silk sector under the Sub-Mission on Agroforestry (SMAF) Scheme.

    •  The Central Silk Board (CSB), Ministry of Textiles, Govt. of India will act as a catalyst to promote Agroforestry in the silk sector.

    Rationale behind the step

    • The signing of this MoU 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.
    • It will increase the income and production of farmers and  will also remove the difficulties faced by them.
      • 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. to be cultivated both as block plantations and border or peripheral plantations on farmlands.

     Sub-Mission on Agroforestry (SMAF) Scheme

    • The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DAC & FW) have been implementing the Sub-Mission on Agroforestry (SMAF) since 2016-17 as part of the recommendation of the National Agroforestry Policy 2014.
    • India was the first country to have such a comprehensive policy which was launched at the World Agroforestry Congress held in Delhi in February 2014.
    •  At present, the scheme is being implemented in 20 States and 2 UTs.
    • It will be operational under the umbrella of NMSA and is a centrally sponsored programme
    • Activities carried out under the SMAF include raising seedlings, planting on boundaries and bunds, low-density planting, high-density planting, etc.

    Aim

    • It aims to encourage farmers to plant multi-purpose trees together with the agriculture crops for climate resilience .
      • The focus of the programme is to encourage agroforestry which has tremendous potential to mitigate climate change effects through moderation of microclimate.

    Significance  

    • It also provides benefits such as improvement of the soil profile, moisture conservation, conservation of natural resources, and creation of an additional source of livelihood and income opportunities.

    Agroforestry

    • Agroforestry systems include both traditional and modern land-use systems where trees are managed together with crops and/or animal production systems in agricultural settings.
    • It is a practical and low-cost means of implementing many forms of integrated land management (which seeks to reduce human impacts on land), and it contributes to a green economy by promoting long-term, sustainable, and renewable forest management, especially for small-scale producers.
    • Steps
      • Major policy initiatives, including the National Forest Policy 1988, the National Agriculture Policy 2000, Planning Commission Task Force on Greening India 2001, National Bamboo Mission 2002, National Policy on Farmers, 2007 and Green India Mission 2010, emphasize the role of agroforestry for efficient nutrient cycling, organic matter addition for sustainable agriculture and for improving vegetation cover.
      • However, agroforestry has not gained the desired importance as a resource development tool due to various factors.

    Sericulture

    • It  is the rearing of silkworms for the production of raw silk.
    • The major activities of sericulture comprises food-plant cultivation to feed the silkworms which spin silk cocoons and reeling the cocoons for unwinding the silk filament for value added benefits such as processing and weaving.
    • Although there are several commercial species of silkworms, Bombyx mori is the most widely used.
    • Silk-fiber is a protein produced from the silk-glands of silkworms.
    • Sericulture is ideally suited for improving the rural economy of the country, as it is practiced as a subsidiary industry to agriculture.
    • Steps –
      • The Government of India through the Central Silk Board has been implementing a Central Sector Scheme “Silk Samagra” an Integrated Scheme for Development of Silk Industry (ISDSI) during the year (2017-20) .
      • The scheme comprises four (4) major Components viz. (i) Research & Development, Training, Transfer of Technology and I.T. Initiatives, (ii) Seed Organizations, (iii) Coordination and Market Development and (iv) Quality Certification Systems (QCS) / Export Brand Promotion and Technology Up-gradation.
      • Aims & objective –
        • To scale up production by improving the quality and productivity and to empower downtrodden, poor & backward families through various activities of sericulture in the country. 

    Source :PIB