Monthly Archives: July 2012

Reforestation project adds hope to food crisis

Exploring Evergreen Agriculture at RIO+20 side event

By for

June 19, 2012

The challenge facing current regreening initiatives is how to find effective methods for upscaling test site successes. On the Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) blog, Torben Timmermann writes about one of the first side events taking place at RIO+20. Participants were invited to the Re-greening for Resilient Landscapes side event to see concrete examples of re-greening initiatives for large landscapes.

According to Timmermann, targeting drylands for regreening is important due to the strong connection between land degradation, desertification and other global issues such as climate change, droughts and floods, famine and poverty.

There are many innovations that can raise productivity in the soils, such as tree plantations, agroforestry and soil management; the question is how these can be scaled up to benefit more smallholder farmers and pastoralists.

“Ensuring the right collaboration among key stakeholders is crucial,” said Carlos Seré, Director for Strategic Planning at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

In Timmermann’s opinion, real success in the high risk areas such as the Sahel was as a result of reforestation from Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) practices.

Participants heard how FMNR practices have resulted in the reforested of five million hectares of land while protecting livelihood options for farmers. Its farmer-led approach is said to have helped increase household incomes that are encouraging farmers to adopt new practices. 

Dr Dennis Garrity, UN Drylands Ambassador and Senior Research Fellow at World Agroforestry Centre, pointed out that dryland areas are moving towards a whole new future where crops are grown in association with trees and natural regeneration of the trees that increase productivity. He leads a major Evergreen Agriculture initiative which includes a number of African organizations working to scale up sustainable agricultural practices.

With the right upscaling, Garrity was optimistic that Evergreen Agriculture could benefit tens of millions of smallholder farmers over the next few years.

Read the full story on CCAFS’ blog.

Download the Evergreen Agricultural Initiative.


Converting the Evergreen Agriculture concept to reality

The Times of India reports that eminent agricultural scientist M S Swaminathan advises that three key factors are needed in order to ensure food security.

Firstly that the right agricultural technologies must support traditional wisdom in management of the ecosystem while producing cash crops. It is no longer effective to simply emphasise the green economy. He suggested that the health of the ecosystem must be taken into account when considering food security so that those who are less fortunate can be protected against the impacts of climate change. The report seems to say this is why Dr Swaminathan is also encouraging meaningful investments into agroecological practices as a vital component of food security.

Swaminathan said modern practices like precision farming and climate-resilient farming or ‘smart farming’, would help convert the concept of ‘evergreen agriculture revolution’ into a reality.

Although India is able to produce enough food to feed it population, Dr Swaminathan lamented that malnutrition is still a major issue.

To change this malnutrition dip, Dr swamithan advised that, “It is important to restore confidence in the international trading system through policy options like putting in place the right import and export policies, as well as timely dissemination of information on market fundamentals.”

“We have to think in terms of a targeted PDS (public distribution system) versus a universal PDS. An important issue for the Food Security Act to tackle is whether PDS can be made universal in the 200 high-burden districts identified by the Prime Minister’s Nutrition Advisory Council,” he concluded.

Read more on this story.


Niger Famine and Regreening

Bridging the knowledge gap between farmers and scientists