More people, more trees: the pathway to food and nutritional security in Africa

Evergreen farming for food and nutritional security in Africa
Evergreen farming for food and nutritional security in Africa

It is not a very old term, yet a google search of Evergreen Agriculture returns over 10 million hits. What exactly does it involve?

“Evergreen Agriculture is a form of intensive farming of crops with the right trees,” explained Jonathan Muriuki, a Scientist at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). “The ‘doublestory’ system has both food crops and trees, and means higher crop productivity and a diversified income base for farmers. It brings numerous environmental benefits too.”

Muriuki was speaking on 15 July at an ICRAF side event at the  Africa Agriculture Science Week (AASW6) in Accra. Read more. . .

Grafted cocoa wows farmers and visitors at Petit Bondoukou

Around two years ago when the Vision for Change cocoa project opened up a centre in Petit Bondoukou village in Côte d’Ivoire, local farmers were invited to participate in field trials aimed at sustainably improving cocoa yields. Mr Koume Koume was among the first farmers to sign up. Today, his decision to offer up a portion of his cocoa farm for demonstration trials under the project is paying off.

Mr Kouame Koume is involved in cocoa trials at Petit Bondoukou village, as part of the Vision for Change project. Photo: Claude Adjehi/ICRAF
Mr Kouame Koume is involved in cocoa trials at Petit Bondoukou village, as part of the Vision for Change project. Photo: ICRAF/CDI

The quarter-hectare section of Koume’s farm in which old and under-producing cocoa trees were grafted with a high-yielding variety has become the talk of the village. Visitors and passers-by marvel at the large, heavy cocoa pods on trees grafted just 18 months ago.  And the 40 year-old father of six says he is glad he chose to join the cocoa trials back in October 2010. Read more. . .

New climate change agency in Indonesia to go beyond carbon

Dr Kuntoro Mangkusubroto at ICRAF-Nairobi 5 Feb 2013
Dr Kuntoro Mangkusubroto at ICRAF Hq-Nairobi, 5 Feb 2013

Between 60 and 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Indonesia come from forest and peatland loss. “We have to tackle this in order to meet Indonesia’s commitment to emissions reduction,” Dr. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto said to an audience at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) headquarters in Nairobi, on 5 February 2013.

At the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh in 2009, Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono made a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the richly forested country. “We are devising …a policy … that will reduce our emissions by 26 percent by 2020. With international support… we can reduce emissions by as much as 41 percent,” the President said. And in May 2010, Indonesia signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Norway to support REDD+ through a contribution of 1 billion US dollars, to be paid based on verified emissions reductions. Read more. . .

‘Farming the associations’ with trees for food security, climate resilience

Intercropped farm in Meru, Kenya. Photo by Sammy Carsan/ICRAF

At a webinar on agroforestry’s potential to foster food security and mitigate and build resilience to climate change, keynote speaker Emmanuel Torquebiau said agroforestry was not simply about “farming trees and farming crops side by side.”

“It is, rather, about farming the associations between crops or animals and trees.” In well-designed agroforestry systems, the ecological requirements of crops, livestock and trees (e.g. shade/light requirements, root structure, and water demand), market value and other considerations in time and space are taken into account, together, he explained. Read more. . .

Is that hot shower deforestation-free?

Photo taken on 2 December 2012 at a Forest Day 6 event at the UNFCCC COP18. Photo/ICRAF
Doug Boucher discussed global deforestation trends on Forest Day 6

At a Forest Day 6 discussion forum, ecologist Doug Boucher spoke about the three D’s that characterize the face of deforestation today: Drivers, Different and Dynamic.

“Drivers vary in important ways among and within countries,” said Boucher, who leads the Climate Research and Analysis unit of the Union of Concerned Scientists. His message reinforced the one delivered by the session’s keynote speaker, Heru Prasetyo, who shared the complexities associated with unraveling the drivers of deforestation in Indonesia.

Boucher explained that those complexities proliferate when country-specific drivers are viewed from a global lens. “Drivers vary depending on the continent you’re on and, often, the country you’re in,” he said. Read more. . .

Brazil’s pride in the Amazon keeps deforestation at bay

By Kristi Foster
“I hope we will not have this conversation,” came Tasso Azevedo’s candid response when asked what new drivers of deforestation we could be discussing 20 years from now.

The question came from a member of the 150-strong audience in a discussion forum hosted by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), called Drivers of deforestation: Exploring regional differences and new patterns. The forum was part of Forest Day 6, held on 2 December 2012, on the sidelines of the 18th United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP18) in Doha. Read more. . .

World Agroforestry Centre and Convention on Biological Diversity enter sustainable land use pact

Ravi Prabhu and Braulio Ferreria de Souza Dias October 2012
Ravi Prabhu and Braulio Ferreria de Souza Dias October 2012 Ravi Prabhu of World Agroforestry Centre (L) with CBD Executive Secretary Braulio Ferreria de Souza Dias at MOU signing on 11 October 2012. Photo by Kara Brown

The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) have signed an agreement that signals a renewed commitment to the sustainable use of land resources and indigenous biodiversity, as well as ‘climate smart’ agriculture.

“Agriculture should no longer be seen as the enemy of biodiversity,” said Ravi Prabhu, Deputy Director-General for Research at the World Agroforestry Centre, during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding at the 11th Conference of the Parties (COP11) in Hyderabad, India. Read more. . .

Leakey book says ‘trees of life’ could nourish the planet, build wealth

Maize growing under nitrogen fixing Faidherbia albidaA new book by prominent tree biologist and past director of research at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) Roger Leakey boldly states that agroforestry might be the ticket out of some of the most vexing issues facing the planet today.

A new book by prominent tree biologist and past director of research at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) Roger Leakey boldly states that agroforestry might be the ticket out of some of the most vexing issues facing the planet today.

In Living with the Trees of Life: Towards the Transformation of Tropical Agriculture, Professor Leakey argues that abject rural poverty, food insecurity, land degradation and climate change can all be “relatively easily addressed” through the widespread application of agroforestry, especially in the tropics and sub-tropics. And ‘The Convenient Truth’ he adds, is that we already know that agroforestry works, thanks to over three decades of research. Read more. . .

UK Environment Minister Richard Benyon visits ICRAF Hq

Minister-Benyon visit to ICRAF 18-02-2013
ICRAF DG Tony Simons (L); scientist Dr Katja Kehlenbeck; UK Environment Minister Hon Richard Beynon; and scientific staff. 19 Feb 2013

During a visit to the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) headquarters in Nairobi on 19 February 2013, UK Environment Minister Hon. Richard Benyon said agroforestry had many beneficial spillover effects.

“You are providing [agricultural] practitioners with the ability to increase production sustainably. This work has vast potential to unlock gains to smallholdings that go way beyond agriculture… gains such as stability, progress, and education,” said Hon. Benyon. Read more. . .