Contributions of agroforestry research and development to livelihood of smallholder farmers in Southern Africa: 2. fruit, medicinal, fuelwood and fodder tree systems uri icon

abstract

  • Integration of trees on farms provides opportunities for improving diversification and range of livelihood portfolios for smallholder farming households in southern Africa. This study synthesizes 2 decades of research and development on agroforestry interventions in southern Africa. In addition to important horticultural fruits such as mangoes and citrus, indigenous fruit trees such as Uapaca kirkiana, Ziziphus mauritiana, Adansonia digitata and Sclerocarya birrea are widely preferred by farmers and traded in the southern Africa region. Domestication of these fruit tree species has advanced and superior clones with multiple-traits have been identified, tested and disseminated to farmers. Through application of vegetative propagation techniques, the time taken for fruiting of these miombo species has been reduced substantially. More than 12.000 farmers have been trained in nursery establishment and over 6000 farmers are involved in on-farm testing of indigenous fruit trees in the field and homesteads in the five countries. The introduction of fast-growing legumes on farms has improved production of fuel wood, fodder, timber and other products and services. In Tanzania alone, over 27.500 farmers have planted fodder trees in the last 6 years. Financial analysis carried out on fodder, rotational woodlots and fruit trees indicated that these agroforestry enterprises were profitable and exhibited positive financial ratios. The provision of quality germplasm, awareness creation and training, in addition to policy interventions are critical considerations for widespread adoption of these technological options

publication date

  • 2008