On the closing afternoon of the World Congress on Agroforestry 2014, participants from South Asia, East, West and Southern Africa came together to plan on how to dramatically scale up the use of trees in cropping and grazing lands of smallholder farmers across the world.
Dennis Garrity, Chair of the EverGreen Agriculture Partnership and UN Drylands Ambassador, emphasized the need to “embed these ideas into the hearts and minds of the ‘hard-core aggies’.”
Once the idea has been taken on by organizations working daily with farmers in mainstream conventional agriculture, large-scale adoption will become achievable, said Garrity.
Representatives from across Africa and South Asia heard about successes and the progress made so far in establishing partnerships and demonstrating agricultural approaches that integrated trees into farm fields.
To date, about a hundred thousand women farmers in Malawi are growing Gliricidia sepium for fodder for their livestock and nutrients for their soil. And emerging partnerships in East Africa are easing the sharing of knowledge and experiences with systems like conservation agriculture with trees.
But in order to share the benefits of these approaches further, the group made a unanimous call for greater collaboration and partnerships with groups such local radio stations, education institutions and NGO consortiums at both a national and global scale. By working with institutions such as these, science-based solutions such as EverGreen agriculture can be shared more widely, adapted locally and extended to farmers, often by farmers across enormous scales.
For each region, many methods and opportunities to take this scaling up further were identified, and the partners at the event drafted actions plans.
“In India in particular, the opportunities to accelerate scaling up are extensive. And we have exciting opportunities in many of Africa’s regions,” said Garrity.
While funding was raised as a challenge in some regions, the meeting agreed that with organizational commitment, you can move forward with what is available.
In Dennis’s words: “Good ideas, and good programs are the basis for good funding”.
“It is all about partnerships, bringing science to development, and shaking hands with development partners as we move forward together.”
By Alice Muller
EverGreen Agriculture Partnership Manager
For more information: www.worldagroforestry.org
Evergreen Agriculture web site: www.evergreenagriculture.net