Agroforestry in Ethiopia: using trees on farms to boost crop productivity and strengthen food security uri icon


  • Majority of Ethiopiaâ??s rural poor depend on subsistence agriculture for a living. Most of the countryâ??s smallholder farmers practice mixed crop and livestock farming and struggle to feed their families. This does not only result in vulnerable livelihoods, but also leads to draining of soil nutrients and makes soils prone to erosion and degradation. To remedy this, the Ethiopian government has tried to implement agriculture-led development strategies through its various rural development programs. However, these approaches shave enjoyed modest success. Infertile soils and low farm outputs continue to characterize much of Ethiopiaâ??s rural landscape.Agroforestry (AF) integrates trees into farming systems,which leads to sustainable agricultural intensification in Ethiopia and one that the government should actively promote. By intercropping crops with trees, Ethiopian farmers can increase their yields, improve soil fertility, control erosion, protect biodiversity, and diversify their incomes. Trees and shrubs are critical assets for farmers especially in regions where climatic conditions are harsh or unpredictable.Successful small- to medium-scale agroforestry projects have already proven that agroforestry can restore degraded lands and improve food security in Southern Ethiopia, Tigray, Oromia and Amhara, among other parts of Ethiopia. However, these are isolated success stories and they need the governmentâ??s support to be scaled up across the country

publication date

  • 2016