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World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)

The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) is an international agricultural research centre headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya with six regional offices in Cameroon, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi and Peru.

The Centre’s vision is a rural transformation in the developing world as smallholder households increase their use of trees in agricultural landscapes to improve food security, nutrition, income, health, shelter, social cohesion, energy resources and environmental sustainability. The Centre’s mission is to generate science-based knowledge about the diverse roles that trees play in agricultural landscapes, and use its research to advance policies and practices, and their implementation, that benefit the poor and the environment.

The World Agroforestry Centre is guided by the broad development challenges pursued by the CGIAR, with three strategic goals: building livelihoods by generating knowledge, choice and opportunities; improving landscapes and their sustainability by better managing their complexity, and transforming agroforestry impacts to large scale through policy, innovation and partnerships.

Contact person: 
Mehmood Hassan
Contact email: 

Technologies from World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)


Evergreen Agriculture: Agricultura de Conservação para a produção de milho no Malawi

Evergreen Agriculture é uma combinação de agricultura de conservação e práticas agroflorestais dentro das mesmas dimensões espaciais e temporais. Noutros círculos, a Evergreen Agriculture é referida como uma agricultura de conservação em ambiente agroflorestal ou agricultura de conservação com árvores (CAWT - Conservation Agriculture With Trees). A Evergreen Agriculture está a ser testada pelo ICRAF, em conjunto com parceiros, no Malawi e em toda a África, como um meio para melhorar a fertilidade do solo, aumentando, ao mesmo tempo, a produtividade das culturas e a produção de alimentos. Esta combinação incidirá sobre os princípios e práticas de Agricultura de Conservação (AC), tal como aplicado na produção de milho no Malawi. A agricultura de conservação também melhora a fertilidades e produtividade do solo, bem como os níveis de produção. ICRAF prevê que a combinação destas duas práticas, em conjunto com outras, irá melhorar a fertilidade do solo, a produção agrícola e, finalmente, a segurança alimentar no Malawi.

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.

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.

Evergreen Agriculture: Conservation Agriculture in maize production in Malawi.

Evergreen Agriculture is a combination of conservation agriculture and agroforestry practices within the same spatial and temporal dimensions. In other circles, evergreen agriculture is referred to as agroforestry based conservation agriculture or Conservation Agriculture With Trees (CAWT). Evergreen agriculture is being tested by ICRAF in conjunction with partners in Malawi and across Africa as the means for enhancing soil fertility, increasing crop productivity and increasing food production.

This section will focus on the principles and practices of Conservation Agriculture (CA) as applied in maize production in Malawi. Conservation agriculture also improves the soil health and productivity as well as improves the crop production. ICRAF envisages that a combination of these two technologies together with other technologies will improve soil health and improve crop production and finally improves food security in Malawi.

Establishing a tree nursery

At present the need to plant trees on farms is on the increase. It is difficult, however, for smallholders to access – at the right time, in the right quantities and of high quality – the trees that they want to plant. In order to meet present and future demand for planting materials, there is a need to promote on-farm and community tree nurseries. Such nurseries can be owned and managed by individual farmers, by self-help groups, by schools, by churches and/or by a range of other local institutions. They provide income-generating opportunities, act as models for further nursery development, provide seedlings more cheaply to planters, and can raise the particular species that local people are interested in. The practice describes the various steps involved in the establishment of a tree nursery.

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

Seed propagation of Allanblackia spp.

This technology describes the various processes of propagating the seeds of Allanblackia..

Allanblackia seeds do not germinate easily. The use of growth promoters to break dormancy has been explored, but does not promote seed germination. The storage of fruit for 6 weeks before seed extraction and/or removal of the whole testa do however enhance germination. Incubation of coatless seed (seeds with testa removed) in black or transparent plastic bags also enhances germination, and this method is widely used in West and Central Africa.

Following the steps described should lead to good quality root and shoot development.

Grafting Techniques of Allanblackia spp

This technology describes various stages of propagating Allanblackia species by grafting.

Grafting is a technique widely used in horticulture and forestry for the mass production of selected plants, and is one of the most successful methods for propagating Allanblackia vegetative. The technique involves formation of a union between scions taken from desirable mother trees and rootstocks that are normally young or healthy seedlings established in the nursery.

By grafting, the period between field establishment and when a tree flowers and fruits is generally shorted. This means that farmers can realize revenues more quickly.

Improved Fallows

Natural fallow is land resting from cultivation, usually used for grazing or left to natural vegetation for a long period to restore soil fertility lost from growing crops. Improved fallow is also land resting from cultivation but the vegetation comprises planted and managed species of leguminous trees, shrubs and herbaceous cover crops. These cover crops rapidly replenish soil fertility in one or at most two growing seasons. They shorten the time required to restore soil fertility; they help to improve farmland productivity because the plant vegetation that follows them is superior in quality; and they increase the range of outputs, because the woody fallow species can also produce fuel wood and stakes.

This practice aims to describe how to establish and manage improved fallow as an innovative agroforestry technology that can meet the different needs of the farmers
and improve the natural resource base. It is intended to serve as a useful guide for extension staff, non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations
and farmers.