Enhancing food security and environmental quality through 'fertilizer trees' in Southern Africa: bridging policy gaps uri icon


  • In many low income countries where seasonal food deficits occur, one of the greatest challenges is how best to integrate envir onmental quality and conservation of natural resources into food security and rural development policies. A numb er of natural resource management technologies exist that offer opportunities for achieving the tw o seemingly divergent goals because they have the characteristics to produce joint multiple outputs as they produce food and provide environmental goods and services. However, adop tion of theses technologies by smallholder farmers has generally been limited by policy and institutional failures, among other reasons. Drawing from natural resource economics framework, this study uses externality theory to provide environmental economic logic for developing incentives to internalize the environmental services â??producedâ?� by such mu ltiple outputs technologies. Using agroforestry as a case study, this paper synthesizes empirical fi eld studies carried out in the s outhern Africa region for over a decade, and discusses how the potential impacts of the technological advan ces made in research and development have been compromised by polic y and institutional ga ps. With particular cognizance of the socio-economic context in southe rn Africa, we identify options for removing institutional and policy c onstraints in order to facilitate th e diffusion of agroforestry and, unlock its potential to satisfy both food produc tion and global environmental goods

publication date

  • 2007