Agroforestry is a collective name for land use system and technologies where woody perennials are deliberately used on the same land management unit as agricultural crops and or animals, in some form of spatial arrangement or temporal sequence. It represents the combination of both through the integration of trees on farmland. Through this, increased social economic and environmental benefits are realized.
There are three main classification of agroforestry systems
- Silvoarable, includes trees with crops
- Silvopastoral, includes trees with animals
- Agrosilvopastoral system gathers trees crops and animals
Together in conventional agriculture removing trees is a common practice this principally affects hills and valleys leading to severe erosion trees on farmlands can have a variety of positive benefits on both crops animals as their roots extend much deeper than those of annual crops or pasture water erosion rates are significantly reduced trees also take up nutrients in deeper layers that cannot be reached by the crops and thereby prevent leakage of fertilizers or manure into the groundwater. The canopies of trees serve as windbreaks which lower the evaporation of surrounding vegetation and act as shelter for increased animal welfare the inclusion of trees in agriculture enhances biodiversity and helps with biological pest control by attracting birds that feed on caterpillars for instance trees can diversify farmers income sources they can provide fodder for livestock food such as fruits and nuts firewood and timber in contrast to annual crops trees in general have a much slower race of income return they may take several years before they start paying off this is a big obstacle especially for farmers that do not own land but only rent it agricultural policies often discourage farmers from adopting agroforestry system by not providing any subsidies while conventional monoculture systems are promoted forests regulations might even prohibit the cutting or selling of trees products on farmland.
Agroforestry helps to reap considerable benefits on both economic and environmental fronts. It helps in producing greater agricultural output. This system proves to be more sustainable compared to agricultural monocultures or forestry. Looking at the benefits and features of an agroforestry system, it has been adopted in several regions of the world. It improves weather patterns and climatic conditions by changing microclimatic conditions like temperature, wind speed, and amount of water vapor in air that positively impacts the growth of crops and welfare of animals. By regulating quality of air, rain cycles, patterns, wind erosion, and water concentration, agroforestry reduces the impact of global warming and climatic change on agriculture.
Agroforestry assists in ensuring high levels of nutrition and health due to an increase in quality of yield and its diversity. Agroforestry provides a varied farm economy. It boosts the entire rural economy that results in a more stable community and farm. Due to production of several types of products by the Agroforestry systems, economic hazards are reduced to a significant level. Careful planning and integration of agroforestry can help protect the natural resources in the environment. For example, growing trees can help improve the quality of water and its quantity by filtering and capturing water resources.
What actions do you propose?
Plans for agroforestry micro-credits loan with minimum interest especially farmers.
Plans for agroforestry policies feasible and acceptable for farmer’s especially low income.
Plans for more subsidies in agroforestry technologies.
Plan for producing trained and skilled human resources in the country for the sector of the agroforestry.
Plan for awareness especially farmers for the importance of agroforestry in local level, regional level and national level.
Plan for agroforestry practices in crop and livestock farming systems to adapt to and mitigate climate change