Title : Incorporating agroforestry design into perennial cash crop production
Large scale production systems of cash crops are designed to maximize yield of one crop, at the expense of local ecology. Large scale palm oil plantations in particular are sources of deforestation and reduced environmental health as acres of diverse forest systems are transformed into monoculture. Smallholder farmer interest in participating in the production of perennial cash crops such as palm oil, cocoa and coffee, requires a large investment of land, time, money, and forfeiture of annual income, from other crops, while waiting for the cash crops to mature and produce. Incorporating climate-smart agroforestry design into these cash crop production systems is a way to simultaneously increase ecological health and improve farmer income and food security opportunities. Agroforestry design integrates multi-strata trees and horticulture into the farming landscape through sustainable methodologies such as living fences, alley cropping, permagardening, composting, mulching, and contour farming, among others. Trees for the Future is dedicated to improving the livelihoods of impoverished farmers by revitalizing degraded lands, and they work in training of farmers in the establishment of agroforestry systems in East and West Africa. In 2019 they began multiple projects partnering with NGOs and Cash Crop Aggregators to develop a design for more sustainable palm oil, cacao, and coffee production in Tanzania, Cameroon, and Uganda respectively. Training, collaborative design and plot establishment occurred in January 2020, and Monitoring and Evaluation will continue throughout 2020 and beyond.This talk will discuss the benefits of Agroforestry Design within cash crop systems and will illustrate the specificities of Palm-Centric AgroforestryDesign developed for oil palm production on 1 acre of land. It will share the process of designing through partnership with NGOs and local smallholder farmers to arrive with a system that is relevant in the local context and meets the needs of all parties.