THE HAGUE (2 November 2010)A unique acacia known as a "fertilizer tree" has typically led to a doubling or tripling of maize yields in smallholder agriculture in Zambia and Malawi, according to evidence presented at a conference in the Hague today. The findings were central to the arguments of agroforestry experts at the conference, who urged decision makers to spread this technology more widely throughout the African nations most vulnerable to climate change and food shortages, and to think differently about more practical ways to solve the problems that are most pressing to smallholder farmers.
Speaking today at The Hague Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change, Dr. Dennis Garrity, Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre, said that evergreen agricultureor the integration of fertilizer trees into crop and livestock-holding farmsis rapidly emerging as an affordable and accessible solution to improving production on Africa's farms.
"Doubling food production by mid-century, particularly in Africa, will require nonconventional approaches, particularly since so many of the continent's soils are depleted, and farmers are faced with a changing climate," Garrity said. "We need to reinvent agriculture in a sustainable and affordable way, so that it can reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases and be adapted to climate change."
Garrity spoke to leading agriculture and climate scientists, policymakers, development experts, and private sector representatives from around the world gathered at The Hague to develop a concrete action plan for linking agriculture-related investments, policies, and measures to transition agriculture to lower carbon-emitting, climate-resilient growth.
In a recent article in Food Security, Garrity and co-authors highlighted how evergreen agriculture has already provided benefits to several million farmers in Zambia, Malawi, Niger and Burkina Faso. Fertilizer trees draw nitrogen f
|Contact: Megan Dold|