Why in News?                                                                                                        

Greening and Restoration of Wasteland with Agroforestry (GROW) report and portal was launched today by Prof Ramesh Chand, Member, NITI Aayog at NITI Aayog.

What is GROW?

  • This multi-institutional effort led by NITI Aayog utilized remote sensing and GIS to assess agroforestry suitability across all districts in India.
  • Using thematic datasets, an Agroforestry Suitability Index (ASI) was developed for national-level prioritization.
  • The report provides state-wise and district-wise analysis, supporting government departments and industries for greening and restoration projects.
  • The “Greening and Restoration of Wasteland with Agroforestry (GROW)-Suitability Mapping” portal Bhuvan https://bhuvan-app1.nrsc.gov.in/asi_portal/ allows universal access to state and district-level data.
  • Currently, agroforestry covers 8.65% of India’s total geographical area, totalling about 28.42 million hectares. Current report underscores the potential benefits of converting underutilized areas, especially wastelands, for agroforestry.
  • The GROW initiative aligns with national commitments, aiming to restore 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030 and create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
  • India, the pioneer of the National Agroforestry Policy in 2014, aims to enhance productivity, profitability, and sustainability through this agroecological land use system.
  • Agroforestry integrates trees, crops, and livestock, addressing food, nutrition, energy, employment, and environmental challenges.
  • This aligns with global commitments like the Paris Agreement, Bonn Challenge, UN Sustainable Development Goals, United Nations Convention on Combating Desertification (UNCCD), Doubling Farmers Income, Green India Mission and more.