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 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.
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.
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.
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
The floating garden practice is a local indigenous production system most successful in the wetland/submerged areas of selected south and south-western districts (Pirojpur, Barisal and Gopalganj) in Bangladesh. Floating garden agricultural practices have been adopted by local farmers for near two centuries. This technology describes how to construct and use floating gardens for seedling production of vegetable and spice crops in Bangladesh.
Floating agriculture (locally name as vasoman/dhap chash) is a local innovative crop production technology for the submerged ecosystem of the southern region of Bangladesh. Traditionally, the farmers of Gopalganj, Pirojpur and Barisal districts have been practicing the farming technology since about two centuries for adaptation with the flooded/submerged condition. To improve the traditional floating garden agriculture practices for growing cucurbits or creeper type of vegetable crops successfully research programmes were undertaken. This technology describes how the improved practice for vegetable production is implemented and managed.
Floating garden practice is a local indigenous production system most successful in the wetland/submerged/flooded areas of selected south and south-western districts (Pirojpur, Barisal and Gopalganj) of Bangladesh. Floating garden agricultural practices have been adopted by the local farmers since about two centuries ago. This technology describes in detail how to construct and manage floating gardens for production of different crops (vegetables and spices).
Due to inaccurate methods of harvesting, farmers tend to destroy the quality of the mangoes and obtain reduced yields of the fruit which results in a loss of income of the farmers. Through selective harvesting techniques, mangoes are harvested in three stages from the trees based on their maturity level. Also, proper picking poles are used to harvest the mangoes in order to avoid dropping them on the ground causing subsequent damage. This technique explains how to properly harvest mangoes and how the mango harvest can be planned in order to reduce post-harvest losses.
Hydroponics is the most common method of soil-less culture (growing agricultural plants without the use of soil), which includes growing plants either on a substrate or in an aqueous medium with bare roots. Non-circulating hydroponic methods, importantly, do not require electricity or a pump.
With the method presented in this document, the entire crop can be grown with only an initial application of water and nutrients. No additional water or fertilizer are needed. The crop is normally terminated when most of the nutrient solution is consumed.
This document provides two detailed step-by-step description of simple, non-circulating hydroponic growing kits for growing vegetables at a small scale, one for short term vegetables (e.g. lettuce or kai choy) and the other for long-term vegetables (e.g. cucumber or tomato).