This category contains 8 resources

Evergreen Agriculture: The use of fertilizer trees in maize production in Malawi.

Agroforestry is a set of tools which farmers can use to increase yields, build soil fertility, raise their income, and boost their food security. ICRAF and its partners have worked closely with farmers for decades to promote and develop simultaneous intercropping practices to address the challenges in soil fertility facing smallholder farmers.

As supplementary technology in evergreen agriculture, agroforestry technology will focus on the concept of simultaneous intercropping of proven fertilizer trees in replenishing soil fertility and increasing crop yields. Simultaneous intercropping is an agroforestry technique whereby nitrogen-fixing woody trees are simultaneously grown with annual crops on the same piece of land at the same time. This is done in order to improve soil fertility and increase yields. While the trees are on the land throughout the year, the crops planted at the beginning of the rainy season dominate during the growing season.

Agroforestry Coffee cultivation in combination with mulching, trenches and organic composting in Uganda

This technology describes a combination of good practices for soil and water conservation that were introduced to coffee farmers in the central cattle corridor of Uganda, with the aim to enhance their resilience to dry spells, pests and diseases, as part of the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) project on Agriculture Adaptation to Climate Change in Uganda.
The combination of good practices include:
(a) mulching, a low cost practice that consists in covering the soil with locally available degradable plant materials to reduce water runoff and evapotranspiration;
(b) digging contour trenches for harvesting water during the rainy season while preserving soil quality;
(c) preparation and application of organic compost to improve soil fertility at low costs; and
(d) planting shade trees within the coffee plantation in order to provide shade and improve soil fertility.

Good Practices of Agro-forestry Systems - The Kuxur Rum System in Guatemala to strengthen resilience to the heatwave season in the Ch'ortí Region, Guatemala

This is a translation of the original version in Spanish. In the dry eastern corridor of Guatemala the rural population is highly vulnerable to food insecurity. It is characterized by erratic rains, water limitations, and low yields of traditional crops such as basic grains. Fields are located on dry slopes, approximately between 200-800 meters above sea level and are characterized by are shallow, steep, and stony soils, and often degraded by the intensive cultivation of maize, beans and sorghum, which reduces their aptitude for agriculture. The Kuxur Rum agroforestry practice is based on the indigenous knowledge of using the multipurpose species Gliricidia sepium, combining it with the annual crop production systems, which allows to improve soil moisture conservation, especially in the drought or heatwave period. The practice, called Kuxur Rum, which in the Ch'ortí language means "my wet land", has been promoted in the context of the Special Program for Food Security (known in Spanish as PESA) in the department of Chiquimula, Guatemala. This program was funded by the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID). This document describes step by step how to establish a Kuxur Rum Agro-forestry system.

Innovations for raising Malabar Neem (Melia dubia) in Tamil Nadu, India

This practice focuses on facilitating the nursery germination and plantation of the “Malabar Neem” (Melia dubia), which is locally known as “Malaivembu”. The tree is found in forest plantations in India and is a fast growing tree crop with up to 20 meters height. It produces greater bio-mass in relatively shorter period. As the seed has a tough seed coat, that does not allow water to penetrate easily, the germination becomes rather difficult. By softening the coat of the seed, the germination difficulties can be solved and enable fast germination. This practice presents valuable cost-effective methods for small-scale farmers to raise their own Melia dubia seedlings and establish a plantation independently from seedling suppliers.

Production of tree seeds for Agroforestry: Seed sourcing

A seed source is a group of trees growing together from which one can collect seed for multiplication. This may be an identified number of trees in a landscape-farmland / natural forest or a group of trees from which you obtain seeds. A good seed source for trees should provide fast growing healthy, genetically diverse planting material. Selecting good seed sources results in high quality seeds and therefore superior end products. It is good to note that not every seed source will provide good quality seeds.

The genetic quality of the seed source is the decisive factor for the success of any tree planting programme hence seed sources have to be carefully identified and selected. The selection of seed sources is based on the assumption that the characteristics of the seed trees are likely to be transmitted to their offspring’s.

Farmers commonly plant trees on farms or community lands to grow products' that satisfy household needs and market demands. Tree seed, a key input that determines the success of any tree planting activity, is often in short supply. Smallholders and NGOs collect or produce most of the seed used in their tree planting programs. Unfortunately, experience shows that smallholders and NGOs have limited knowledge concerning proper tree seed collection and handling procedures. As a result, most of the seed collected by smallholders and NGOs is of questionable genetic and physical quality.

Vegetative tree propagation in Agroforestry

This technology describes the various stages in the vegetative propagation of trees (from tree nursery management to cuttings, grafting, and layering). It is targeted at helping field technicians and nursery managers active in tree propagation research or development.
The concept of vegetative propagation is that an exact copy of the genome of a mother plant is made and continued in new individuals. This is possible because plants have meristematic, undifferentiated cells that can differentiate to the various organs necessary to form a whole new plant. A piece of plant shoot, root, or leaf, can therefore, grow to form a new plant that contains the exact genetic information of its source plant.
Vegetative propagation aims at the identical reproduction of plants with desirable features such as high productivity, superior quality, or high tolerance to biotic and/or abiotic stresses, and as such, plays a very important role in continuing a preferred trait from one generation to the next

Shade-grown coffee

Shade-grown coffee - An agroforestry system which combines coffee with shade trees – including fruit, timber and leguminous species – in a systematic fashion.
Shade-grown coffee is a traditional and complex agroforestry system where coffee is associated with various other species in different storeys (or ‘levels’). This provides ecologically and economically sustainable use of natural resources.

While based on a traditional system the shade-grown coffee technology has a specific layout, and a reduced number of intercropped species. It comprises
- Coffee (Coffea arabica) planted on the contour at approximately 5,000 plants per hectare;
- Associated trees: fruits, most commonly oranges (120 trees/ha), cedar (Cedrela odorata) or caoba (Swietenia macrophylla) for timber (60 trees/ha) and also two legumes, poró (Erythrina poeppigiana) and chalum (Inga sp.) which act as shade trees and at the same time improve the soil by fixing nitrogen (60 trees/ha). Farmers often include bananas or avocados in the system, which command good market prices and do not compete with labour needed for harvesting and other activities;
- Supportive soil conservation measures on steep slopes to avoid soil erosion, predominantly strips of lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) on the contour, retention ditches and soil cover improvement;
- Fertilizers: both organic and inorganic combined.
Full establishment of a shaded coffee plot can be achieved in two years.
The trees grown in association allow more efficient cycling of nutrients (because of deep rooting and nitrogen fixation) and provide a favourable microclimate for coffee.

Labour saving technologies and practices: Woodlots, agro-forestry and improved fallow

This article shows woodlots, agro-forestry and improved fallow features. © Labour saving technologies and practices. FAO 2007