ICRAF on Improving Agroforestry Farming Systems

ICRAF is a world-leading research centre in agroforestry. In the video below, James M. Roshetko gives an overview of some of the projects in Indonesia he and ICRAF are leading with the support of the Canada and Australia. Their work is focused on smallholder farming systems, like those found in tea production. In particular, they are researching gender issues, value chains, and farmer to farmer extension methods to improve intervention strategies that can provide landscape management options that provide environmental services and financial benefits.
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Agroforestry Won't Save the World, but our Planet

According to the numerous audience's questions, agroforestry is in demand.

Of course! In terms of water and nutrient efficiency, trees are optimum, and hence are key for solving problems like nitrogen leaching and drought mitigation. Moreover, they can provide an additional income source for (smallholder) farmers in terms of fruit, medicine and timber. Their ecological value cannot only be reduced to shade provision and hydraulic lift for water and plant nutrients, they also function as a shelter belt for annual crops nearby. Trees also drastically reduce wind speed, minimizing transpiration. Niels Thevs from ICRAF reinforced these points in his oral presentation.

As far as resource efficiency is concerned, trees can substantially contribute to mitigate climate change and secure the existence of smallholders.

Audience_asking questions

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Tropentag Poster Session Diary

It’s late afternoon, twenty minutes before the official start of the guided poster presentations. More or less a hundred posters hang around the big hall waiting for their accurate observation. Several stands with plenty and deep information enrich my view as I slowly walk up and down the rows. My mission is to analyze those discussing crop biotic stresses. While concentrating on reading the introductions and results of the scientific papers, the AULA gradually fills with people. Students, doctoral candidates, young professionals, professors, people with and without suits, all dedicated individuals trying to understand the core of life: nature.

As such, we want to know how nature behaves. We want to mimic it, and often we want to be in control of it. We sometimes fight it, and sometimes cooperate with it.

We experiment with biological agents such as fungal isolates to fight root-knot nematodes on pineapple plantations in Kenya to avoid unnecessary pesticide use. Or we compare a conventional single-culture cacao cropping system with a agroforestry system, a natural, resilient system that copes with rapid changing abiotic factors due to climate change. Of course, we don't want to deal with the origins of the problem, which are usually man-made. What about reducing waste? Rethinking nutrition? Learning to make do with less? Ultimately, we all strive for the same: living our dreams.

Agroforestry and fruit diversity enhance food and nutrition security

During the first day of the Science Forum, we have 2 sessions of “knowledge share fair” for scientists to present and discuss their studies in digital format and a cozy setting with morning coffee and hot buns served. When I came into the room, there were already a few people crowded in front of a “poster”. Katja Kehlenbeck works for ICRAF- Would Agroforestry Centre in their Nairobi office in Kenya, and she was telling us how their newly developed model “Fruit tree portfolios” can identify local specific fruit tree sets, which help the Kenyan farmers to reintroduce fruit trees into their farms according to seedling availability and seasons. DSCN1165 Katja was presenting in the knowledge share fair during SF 2013

Transition town – the story so far

Global warming, peak oil, climate change; GM seeds of the bio-giants BAYER and MONSANTO are ruining our biosphere; 40% of greenhouse gas emissions comes from the industrialized agriculture sector; – how to get from where we are now to an abundant, pleasurable and resilient future? The 65-minute long documentary film “Voices of Transition”gives us a concrete answer to this powerful question. Leigh Court Farm Leigh Court Farm in England

The Quesungual Slash and Mulch Agroforestry System (QSMAS): provider of ecological services

The QSMAS presents a sustainable alternative to the traditional practices of central America. Aracely Castro explains that QSMAS can provide Ecosystem Services (ES). Benefits that people get from the nature is the definition of ES. In the sub-humid tropics of central America, traditional agroforestry systems imply slash and burn of plots, followed by 1 to 3 years of cropping. Then, the land needs at least 7 years to regenerate (fallow). In contrast, the QSMAS cycle is made of slash and mulch during nearly 12 years of cropping. Then, the land needs also 7 years to regenerate. This smallholders production system combines basic management principles to improve the use and conservation of vegetation, soil, and water (increase infiltration and decreased runoff). It improves resilience, productivity, and sustainability. It reduces shifting cultivation in drought-prone hillsides of the sub-humid tropics. Last but not least, it acts favourably on the global warming potential (GWP) through improved C accumulation and low methane emission.

Agroforestry as a means of ensuring poverty alleviation and contributing to food security

Agroforestry has the potential to provide numerous benefits including; maintenance of soil fertility, reduction of soil erosion, conservation of water, carbon capture, biodiversity conservation, poverty reduction and contribution to food security - this is according to Mr. Martin Juvanov of GIZ. He was speaking during the GIZ session at Tropentag 2011 on the topic “agricultural research for development of sustainable land use based on agroforestry systems in semi arid areas in Bolivia”. He started by explaining that land degradation and impact of climate change is a major challenge in Bolivia. He also referred to more frequent and more intense natural desasters like water scacity, drought in semi-arid regions, increase of hailstorms, flush floods, lanslides in highlands, increasing food insecurity, higher temperatures, and shorter growing season for farmers as major indicators of climate change impacts in Bolivia. Technical and structural challenge Mr. Juvanov also discussed some technical and structural challenges facing people in Bolivia as; 1. Non-sustainble use of natural resources 2. Reduction of productivity 3. Increasing of poverty among people 4. Insufficient exchange/flow of information and knowledge and 5. Inssuficient intersectional cordination Set up of GIZ technical cooperation in Bolivia He gave an overview of the work and involvment of GIZ in Bolivia citing their major roles as; 1. Implementation of national sector programmes

Oral Presentations III: Mixed Cropping, Agroforestry, and Biofuels

This is a sample of some of the great mixed cropping, agroforestry and biofuels oral presentations at Tropentag Strategies to Use Biofuel Value Chain Potential in Sub-saharan Africa to Respond to Global Change Enhancing Low-productivity Farming in Tanzania and Linking to SMEs – Stefan Sieber Some of the most significant global drivers stem from energy demands. This study examined new strategies to improve value chains and biofuel potential in order to provide communities in Sub-Saharan Africa with multiple energy services. The study took place in Tanzania, however global applications of the findings was one of the overall objectives. One way to improve energy demands in developing countries is though linking small scale farmers with small- to medium-scale enterprises. This research project worked with stakeholders in order to develop feasible strategies to maximize profit. The output from this collaborative effort was the development of global scenarios (applications in other countries), biomass production, consumption patterns, as well as a participatory biomass value chain. The objective of the research was to conduct a sustainability impact analysis and an information system for policy/decision support.
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