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2Department of Silviculture and Agroforestry, College of Forestry, Navsari Agricultural University, Navsari - 396 450, Gujarat, India
3Department of Environmental Science, Indira Gandhi National Tribal University (IGNTU), Amarkantak, Madhya Pradesh, India
Neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss) is a unique tree with its great religious, medicinal, ornamental and multifunctional values. Old Indian literature viz. Atharava Veda, Upanishda, Amarkosha, Ghrayasutra, Ayurveda etc. mention neem tree as “Sarva Roga Nivarini” means medicine to cure all the diseases and United Nations declared it as “Tree of 21st century”. In India the Neem tree is household name and well distributed in rural as well as urban landscape but its promotion as a agroforestry tree either block, strip or boundary planting on farmland is limited. The hardy and multipurpose neem tree holds tremendous potential in sustainable farming systems across the world. Different agroforestry research has been carried out for intercropping with neem like sorghum, black gram, wheat, chickpea, groundnut, pearl millet, cotton, sorghum, horsegram, mungbean, cowpea, vegetables, grasses etc. under agri-silviculture, agri-silvi-horticulture, silvipastoral system and shelter belts/wind breaks etc. Besides this it has been also promoted for afforestation in farm and social forestry plantations and by NOVOD board for seed oil but this mission has not yielded marked change in large scale adoption by farming community. Inspite of such a highly bio-prospected species from datoon (Natural toothbrush) to contraceptive and neem coated urea, it has not been enterprised for rural economy. There is need to scaling up the neem tree cultivation on farm or agroforestry for entrepreneurship and economic strengthening of rural community of India.