Is it enough to recommend tree species to farmers? Or even to supply them with the right seedlings and advice on growing them?
Across Africa bold campaigns, such as the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100), are underway to get more trees into farming landscapes, as a means to restore land, protect watersheds, and meet people’s food and energy demands sustainably. The success of these programs will be greatly influenced by farmers’ decisions to plant, keep and nurture the trees for the long haul. And as it turns out, these decisions depend heavily on the ecological and socio-economic realities farmers find themselves in, which vary widely. Read more. . .
A large, old Faidherbia albida tree with a metre-plus diameter stored the equivalent of the CO2 emitted by 8 cars over one year.These useful trees play an important role in carbon sequestration, a critical part of the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change.
The evidence is clear: For big gains in crop production, our landscapes must become more hospitable to some of the planet’s littlest creatures— its pollinators.
Bees, birds, butterflies, moths and some small mammals transfer pollen from flower to flower, causing fruit to set. This environmental service of pollinators is what secures the harvest of a huge proportion of the world’s food production.
At an invited talk at the Nairobi headquarters of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) on 8 January 2016, Kenyan naturalist and entomologist Dino Martins, the Executive Director of the Mpala Research Centre and Chair of the Insect Committee of Nature Kenya, delved into the intimate links between the world’s food security and pollination. Read more. ..
Back in 2009, the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) issued a clarion call for a deep reform of agriculture globally.
“Business as usual is not an option,” the comprehensive, evidence-based global series titled Agriculture at Crossroads, stated boldly.
The IAASTD report urged, among other things, for global agriculture to respect the agroecological principles that had served farmers and nature well since the dawn of farming; practices such as organic farming and agroforestry which supply the nutritional needs of people without harming the natural resource base on which all life depends. Read more. . .
A Greenpeace study in Malawi and Kenya has revealed that chemically-intensive farming hurts the bottom line of small-scale farmers; agroecological farming is more profitable.
Agroecology refers to a suite of sustainable farming practices that use few or no external chemical inputs. The approaches, often rooted in traditional farming techniques, include sustainable land management, water harvesting, agroforestry, biological control of pests and weeds, intercropping, organic farming, permaculture, and several others. Read more..
Ricinodendron heudelotii, locally known as Njansang (or njansa), is a forest tree found in Cameroon and other countries along Africa’s tropical belt. Women and children traditionally collect njansang fruit in the forest and undertake the labourious, time-intensive job of extracting its precious kernels for sale or home use. Njansang kernels—which are ground into a paste used to flavor and thicken a wide array of foods— are in high demand throughout the region and all year round.
But even with a large, ready local market, njansang’s slow and difficult processing stands in the way of unlocking its potential to generate more income for local communities; traditional processesing takes anything from 6 to 8 weeks to go from harvest to kernel, and a woman earns around $50 from the sale of njansang kernels annually. Read more. . .
To visit with Cameroonian farmer Louis-Marie Atangana is to witness first hand how farmers’ empowerment with knowledge and skills can change lives and landscapes.
Until 4 years ago Atangana, 45, was a cassava farmer struggling to feed his family of 14 children. But in 2010 he and several members from his village self-help group decided to join an agroforestry training offered by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)-Cameroon, through a Rural Resource Centre. He has had three such trainings to date, dealing with different aspects of tree nursery establishment and management.
He has put the knowledge and skills gained to good use, establishing a tree nursery next to his house soon after his first training. Atangana’s home nursery in Nkenlikok village, deep inside the forest zone that surrounds Yaounde, Cameroon’s capital city, is now serving his community’s needs for accessible and affordable good quality tree seedlings. Read more. . .
This was Professor Wangari Maathai’s smart response to people who were questioning her decision to train illiterate rural women on how to grow and nurture trees.
To celebrate Africa Environment Day and Wangari Maathai Day, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC), the Government of Kenya, the Green Belt Movement (GBM) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), hosted a day-long Women and Environment Forum. The event at ICRAF Headquarters in Nairobi, 4 March, brought together over 60 participants from 6 countries. Read more..
The recent devastating floods in southern Malawi and surrounding areas brought into sharp focus the reality of climate change and its effects on ordinary people in this landlocked southern African country.
Besides floods, delayed rains and droughts have become increasingly common in the Shire River Basin of Southern Malawi. Off-season and insufficient rainfall means that more and more smallholder farmers in the region are facing crop failure. Read more. . .
As the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) launched a new book — designed to arm people with evidence and tools for designing climate smart landscapes—its lead editor underscored the fact that we are a long way from achieving sustainable, climate-smart landscapes across the globe.
Dr Peter Minang, the Global Coordinator of the ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins at ICRAF, said, however, that “structured interactions, co-investments and negotiations among concerned actors can nudge landscapes towards multifunctionality.” Read more. . .