Shift of a Paradigm: A Micro Initiative Towards Agro-Forestry


I am Manish, from a small village called Navinagar in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. Currently I am pursuing Masters Program in Agro-Forestry from SHIATS, Allahabad, where my journey to initiate a change in the present form of agriculture which mostly is concerned only with crop cultivation began, at least at a micro level.

Basically I belong to a family having sole agricultural background and family income is largely dependent on it. I started visiting the fields with my father since I was 13-14 years old. I saw how the farmers’ fate was at large determined by the will of the monsoons due to much dependency on rains for irrigation and lack of adequate irrigation facilities.

After completing my secondary education from agriculture stream at intermediate level, I decided to opt for forestry sciences as major subject for my further studies, the reason behind being my strong inclination towards nature and environment. So for my higher studies in the desired stream I took admission in SHIATS, Allahabad, which is one of India’s premier institutes in the field of Agricultural and Forestry sciences.

It all started when I visited my home after completing my first year of graduation. I realised that the kind of farming practices farmers were following were not fetching them decent returns, all credited to the backward farming practices adopted by them. The farmers were reluctant to go for tree plantation in or around the fields. This tendency was due to the belief that growing trees with crops will adversely affect their crop yields because trees will consume much of water and nutrients and there will not be sufficient production due to such scarcity. Not much emphasis was laid on the scarce forest cover which was gradually reducing as more parts of land were being cleared and brought under cultivation to get higher gains in economic terms.

This prevailing system required a change and I took this chance as an opportunity to impart my academic knowledge in the interest of farmer community towards some applicable good. So first of all I discussed this matter with my father. Although he was aware of all those things but the benefits of the technical front that
I put forward were hard to digest even for him, leave rest.

It required keeping at stake a huge chunk of land and above all the related output for the sake of experimentation and this made him a bit shy. The reason for this was age long traditional cropping pattern and the belief that trees and crops cannot be grown together in a compatible manner. This required a paradigm shift. I told my father that there is no such issue that trees will hamper crop cultivation. Instead this will raise capital by providing timber and other produce ultimately contributing to the financial strengthening.

I somehow gained a bit in convincing him. Since Poplar was easy to grow, required less or no special care and provided handsome timber output, we decided to plant Poplar trees along the fields’ periphery. We grew wheat, rice, mustard and potato along with Poplar and the results were quite fascinating. There was no significant reduction in the crop yield and the first batch of Poplar was ready within four years. The timber was in high demand so it also fetched good sum.

Since the results were quite fruitful, it inspired other farmers also to take up this practice and a new trend of agro-forestry based farming began in my village. I also tendered my cooperation and with their help expanded the new practice.

This practice has now become very popular among the farmers. At present about 85% of the farmers in my village are using agro-forestry models. They are also planting Teak and Subabul trees other than Poplar. The production from one hectare plantation is 120-180 cubic meters of saw log timber, depending upon the tree type.

I found that the awareness for agro-forestry technologies among farmers is low and this could be due to ineffective communication about the long term benefits of agro-forestry technologies between the change agents and other farmers.

This is the right time for agro-forestry extension. Natural tree cover has been diminishing over the years due to human activities of settlement and agriculture, gradually leading to land degradation by soil erosion, which has become a cause of constant drought, landslide, flood and ecological imbalance. This has also led to various socio-economic problems of which exorbitantly high cost of timber for construction work and industries, crisis of fuelwood for cooking and other purposes, scarcity of tree based fodder for animals in arid and semi-arid areas are only to name some.

There should be concern regarding steps required to be considered for extension. Local resources need to be identified prior to necessary external assistance for system and community needs should be kept in mind while planning for such activities; these may include items like water, food, shelter, energy etc. Different society groups could be assigned specific roles while coming up with the plans. Well organised surveys should be carried out to establish the resources base of the community, including land, labour and capital and the problems associated with utilization of the resources in the much anticipated agro-forestry system. The entrepreneurial ability of the community members must also be identified because this influences the intensity with which the existing resources are exploited.

At last concluding I would like to say that youth should come forward and enhance the scope of agro-forestry based systems. They are innovative and should impart their technical and managerial skills towards this developmental framework. With this pattern we can lend out a helping hand towards the depleting forest resources and simultaneously contribute to the economic upliftment of a larger section of the society which is directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture. Growth is important but sustainable growth is what present concern is.

Comments & suggestions are warmly welcomed

Picture: Top: different Agro-Forestry Models – Bottom: author (center) with farm labourers

Blogpost and photo by Manish Kumar (Navinagar, Uttar Pradesh, India) – manishmaanchaudhary(at)


This post is entry nr #16 in our #WCA2014 blog competition. The five blogposts with the most and highest votes will receive a signed copy of the book “Trees for Life”. The most popular blogpost will get an iPad.


This blogpost received 2,280 votes, with an average score of 5 (out of a max of 5).

If you have questions or remarks on the project described in this post, please leave a comment below. Please also rate the other blogcompetition entries!

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35 People have left comments on this post

» Niket said: { Jan 20, 2014 - 06:01:43 }

Good job Manish! Its great that you are working in an area that seriously requires a change. Though at a start-up level, this initiative points to a giant leap towards a better tomorrow. Keep up the good work. All the best.

» Ashish Immanuel said: { Jan 21, 2014 - 11:01:18 }

Excellent job….well done.

» akhilesh yadav said: { Jan 21, 2014 - 01:01:46 }

Well job bro…

» Vinod Chaudhary said: { Jan 21, 2014 - 03:01:14 }

Good work.

» Joel James said: { Jan 21, 2014 - 03:01:08 }

Nice job..Excellent work bro …keep it up

» Saurabh Kant said: { Jan 21, 2014 - 03:01:20 }

No Words to Say ….
Just go on Bro.
All the very best

» adarsh said: { Jan 21, 2014 - 04:01:24 }

Nice job keep rocking

» Pramod said: { Jan 22, 2014 - 03:01:53 }

Good work mate!
Keep on inspiring. Much needed shift.

» Ratandeep Bhatia said: { Jan 22, 2014 - 02:01:49 }

Nice thought ! Its great to see today’s youth focusing on these areas and their inclination towards agriculture.

» vipin choudhary said: { Jan 22, 2014 - 03:01:12 }

well done ……………. keep it up…….

» SATISH KUMAR said: { Jan 23, 2014 - 05:01:20 }

very good manish

» S. Daniel said: { Jan 23, 2014 - 09:01:47 }

well done ……………………. good job done

» Dr.Samir daniel said: { Jan 23, 2014 - 09:01:44 }

Its great to see today’s young men are focusing on these areas

» Vineet Chaudhary said: { Jan 24, 2014 - 05:01:13 }

It’s great to see that you working for sustainable development. I wish you all the very best. Well done and keep it up. :)

» Vishal Masih said: { Jan 24, 2014 - 10:01:29 }

Manish its good to read your article with your inovataive thaught and wish to improve the statics,i really appriciate that,i wish all my prayers and goodluck to you so that you achive what you want….


» Harsh Paiwal said: { Jan 24, 2014 - 10:01:21 }

Well done Manish…ur words are appreciated………… All the best….

» kanika chaudhary said: { Jan 24, 2014 - 10:01:51 }

Nice work done. Keep it up!!

» kanika chaudhary said: { Jan 24, 2014 - 10:01:38 }

Nice job done… Keep it up!!

» Amit Chaudhary said: { Jan 24, 2014 - 12:01:31 }


» Sneha Satyam said: { Jan 24, 2014 - 01:01:46 }

its truly gr8 and appreciable…….keep it up

» Pankaj said: { Jan 24, 2014 - 09:01:25 }

Aswm topic to present with…keep it up !!

» gunjan kumari said: { Jan 26, 2014 - 03:01:17 }

very good manish…..

» Satish said: { Jan 26, 2014 - 03:01:34 }

Hey manish! Its good that you are actually utilising your academic potential towards a practical sense.

» Rohit said: { Jan 26, 2014 - 03:01:09 }

Congratulations dear for your success. I wish you make the best out of your noble efforts.

» Mohit said: { Jan 26, 2014 - 03:01:59 }

This is the passion what it needs to prosper. I appreciate your efforts.

» Arpan Dubey said: { Jan 27, 2014 - 08:01:39 }

Manish,….we are with u for support …gud job

» vimal chaudhary said: { Jan 27, 2014 - 08:01:45 }

well done keep it up bro!!!!!

» Rudra Pratap Singh said: { Jan 28, 2014 - 07:01:38 }

very very good work mr. manish maan

» C.Aalok said: { Jan 29, 2014 - 05:01:03 }

I do wish u all the very best and do
look forward to seeing more youth’s taking
similar path……all da best..

» C.Aalok said: { Jan 29, 2014 - 05:01:20 }

well written blog sir….
Great initiative and I wish you all the best.

» Anushank said: { Jan 29, 2014 - 10:01:23 }

Good job. Keep it up. Make earth better place for descendants.

» Nirmal said: { Jan 31, 2014 - 05:01:09 }

Dear Manish, Excellent article so simple and convincing plus your passion is touching. I pray you succeed in your endeavours. I am a scientist in agroforestry in ICAR and I am feeling greatly inspired by your article.
Nirmal Khatri

» Manish said: { Feb 1, 2014 - 01:02:35 }

Dear Khatri sir,
I am immensly thankful for your valuable comments. I wrote this blog intentionally keeping the language lucid so that it should easily be able to express what i wish to convey. I’ll feel highly privileged if I could serve the land with my efforts. Your eminent guidance will always remain desirable.


» Prof. M. P. Yadav said: { Feb 2, 2014 - 11:02:18 }

Indeed a good account of the factual status of fodder scarcity for livestock in hills and concerns of livestock farmers has been documented by Dr. Mahesh Chander.

» Dr Hilaluddin said: { Feb 7, 2014 - 09:02:58 }

great job done. congrats!!!

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