strategy

Disseminating information on agroforestry

Synonyms:
Informing about use of trees in farming
Description:
Foresters, working with agricultural specialists and private companies, can play an important role in introducing to communities a broader selection of tree species, and providing guidance in cash crop selection. Foresters can assist farmers in improving seed harvesting, nursery practices, establishing protection fences, and guidance in spacing and thinning techniques.

Agroforestry, where crops are integrated with trees, continues to be a popular method for improving and increasing the value of land.

Context:
Agroforestry is a relatively new and integrative scientific discipline, struggling for recognition and application to real problems. Agroforestry has very old antecedents and agroforestry practitioners are considered by many as mere relics bound for extinction ([ie] tropical swidden cultivators in Latin America).
Implementation:
Agroforestry is an age-old land use that has been practiced for thousands of years by farmers the world over. Although in recent years it has also been developed as a science that promises to help farmers increase the productivity, profitability, and sustainability of production on their land, the science of agroforestry lags far behind the art of existing agroforestry practices. However, scientific efforts to understand, classify, and improve agroforestry systems are on the increase.

The International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) activities helps to mitigate tropical deforestation, land depletion, and rural poverty through improved agroforestry systems, and focuses its activities promoting dissemination of information through training and education, documentation and communication activities, among others. ICRAF launched a support service in 1993 called [Agroforestry Updates]. It is a monthly information service for researchers providing selective dissemination of information and tailor-made bibliographic searches.

The 'Agroforestry Technology Information Kit' was prepared with the support of the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction for the use and guidance of the 1,200 Social Forestry Officers and Technicians of the Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The Social Forestry Programme of DENR aims to give the Filipino uplanders access to forest lands for a tenure of 25 years or more.

Claim:
Certain situations should be taken into account in order for scientific agroforestry to reach peasants effectively. At least in Latin America, conventional agronomy and allied disciplines have mostly proven unable to foster the adoption of technical advances in agriculture or agroforestry among peasants; that is, advances that are really viable and suitable. At times, researchers have known the what but not how, and at others, knowing how, we didn't exactly know what. Agroforestry should learn from these experiences. But scientists also know that major forces were at play and there is no point in attributing blame to agronomists or to peasants. Researchers are quite aware that available technology will be eventually adopted, if perceived by peasants as suitable. One plausible way for scientific agroforestry to be diffused among peasants is to work towards a built-in sort of strategy, one that is linked to its development as a scientific discipline. Scientists have at their disposal many contributions that could be used and integrated in designing such strategy.
Facilitates:
Exchanging seeds
Type Classification:
G: Very Specific strategies