GROW Report and Portal: NITI Aayog New Launch

NITI Aayog, the policy think tank of the Government of India, has launched a new report and portal on Greening and Restoration of Wasteland with Agroforestry (GROW) on 12 February 2024. The report and portal aim to provide state-wise and district-wise analysis of agroforestry suitability across India, using remote sensing and GIS technologies. The report and portal are expected to support government departments and industries for greening and restoration projects, as well as align with national commitments to restore degraded land and create carbon sinks.

What is agroforestry?

Agroforestry is an integrated land use system that combines trees with crops or livestock on the same land. It provides multiple benefits such as enhancing productivity, profitability, and sustainability of agriculture, as well as improving soil health, biodiversity, and climate resilience. According to the report, agroforestry covers 8.65% of India’s total geographical area, totalling about 28.42 million hectares. However, there is a huge potential to expand agroforestry in underutilized areas, especially wastelands, which constitute 16.96% of the total geographical area.

How was the agroforestry suitability assessed?

The report and portal have developed an Agroforestry Suitability Index (ASI) for national-level prioritization of wastelands for agroforestry interventions. The ASI is based on thematic datasets such as soil, climate, land use, slope, rainfall, etc. The ASI ranges from 0 to 1, where 0 indicates no suitability and 1 indicates high suitability. The report and portal provide ASI maps and tables for each state and district in India, along with recommendations for suitable agroforestry models and species.

How can the GROW report and portal be accessed?

The GROW report and portal can be accessed at The portal allows users to view, download, and query the ASI data at different spatial scales. The portal also provides information on the methodology, data sources, limitations, and future scope of the project.

Who are the partners involved in the GROW project?

The GROW initiative is a multi-institutional effort led by NITI Aayog in collaboration with ICAR-Central Agroforestry Research Institute Jhansi, CIFOR-ICRAF, NRSC Hyderabad, NABARD, TERI SAS New Delhi, IIT Roorkee, IIT Bombay, IISc Bangalore, IIFM Bhopal, GBPUAT Pantnagar, BAU Ranchi, UAS Dharwad, KAU Thrissur, ANGRAU Guntur, TNAU Coimbatore, CAZRI Jodhpur, ICAR-CAFRI Jhansi and ICAR-CRIDA Hyderabad.

What were the key messages from the launch event?

The launch event was attended by Prof Ramesh Chand, Member, NITI Aayog; Dr SK Chaudhari, Additional Secretary (DARE) & Secretary (ICAR); Dr A Arunachalam, Director, ICAR-Central Agroforestry Research Institute Jhansi; Dr Ravi Prabhu, Director Innovation, Investment and Impact CIFOR-ICRAF; Dr R Ravi Babu, GM, FSDD, NABARD; Dr Rajiv Kumar, Group Head, RSA, NRSC Hyderabad; and other dignitaries from government departments, research institutions, industries and civil society.

Prof Ramesh Chand highlighted the need for promotion of agroforestry for reducing import of wood and wood products; carbon sequestration to combat climate change at global and national level; and addressing sub-optimal use of arable land. He said that this project will reap long term benefits and promote use of space technology in agriculture.

Dr SK Chaudhari said that the portal will be helpful in different programmes as the Government of India is working to promote agroforestry and sensitizing role of extension.

Dr A Arunachalam said that the report and portal are the first of its kind in the world to provide agroforestry suitability assessment at such a fine resolution. He also thanked NITI Aayog for providing leadership and guidance for this project.

Dr Ravi Prabhu said that agroforestry is a win-win solution for farmers, environment and economy. He also appreciated the collaborative approach adopted by NITI Aayog for this project.

Dr R Ravi Babu said that NABARD is committed to support agroforestry development in India through various schemes and initiatives. He also suggested to link the portal with NABARD’s portal on natural resource management.

Dr Rajiv Kumar said that NRSC has provided the technical support for developing the ASI maps and portal. He also explained the features and functionalities of the portal.


The GROW report and portal are timely and relevant, as the Union Budget of Government of India (FY-2022-23) has underlined the promotion of agroforestry and private forestry as a priority. India, the pioneer of the National Agroforestry Policy in 2014, aims to enhance productivity, profitability, and sustainability through this agroecological land use system.

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