Agroforestry is a land use system that integrates trees (wwody perenials), crops and/or animals in a system on the same piece of land in order to get higher productivity, greater economic returns and more social benefits on a sustainable basis. This can be done by planting trees and crops together in the same field at the same time, or they can be planted in a rotational system.
Agroforestry provides an alternative land use model that is a potential soluton to adddress land management problems in East Africa, especially Tanzania.
Agroforestry is a widely used practice that farmers have engaged in all over the world for centuries. With growing populations, the agroforestry practices have been intensified to sut farmers’ current land holdings.
Tree and how they can benefit the other farm components, are the main focus in agroforestry systems. It is important to emphasize that agroforestry is a system where the different components (trees, crops and animals) are benefiting each other in several different ways. The trees can give fodder to animals and fix nitrogen to crops as well as provide different biological pesticides and an improved micro-climate. The animals give manure to crops and trees and the crops give residues that should be used to make compost or used as mulch or trash lines in the fields or be fed to animals.
Reseachers at the World Agroforestry Centre found that for every hectare put into agroforestry, five to ten hectares can be saved, since the agroforestry system is so much more efficient and high yielding compared to conventional farming. By planting the right trees in the right places on their lands, farmers can improve the quality of their soil, develop income generating opportunities.
“A people without children would face a hopeless future; a country without trees is just a helpless”
Deodatus Kiriba-YET 2011