My project idea is on promotion of agroforestry tree species for crop yield improvement and pests and diseases control in selected parts of Tanzania.
Agroforestry plays a great role in reducing major environment problems in the world. It helps to reduce climatic changes in the agricultural areas, improving quality and availability of water resources, improving soil fertility, and protect crops from pests and diseases, amongst other services.
The proposed project will select areas in different climatic zones of Tanzania. Agroforestry species will be identified and matched to site conditions in the selected zones. They will also be matched to the different crops grown in those areas. Local communities will be trained on agroforestry practices. Lists of suitable species will be freely provided to the rural communities in local names. Initially, the local communities will be freely provided with agroforestry species (e.g. tree seedlings) as a motivation in cultivating the attitude of tree growing in their farms. They will also be trained on nursery techniques on tree raising for project sustainability. These species will be selected on the basis of soil fertility improvement and pests and diseases control to achieve sustainable crop protection. Prior to the project, an impact assessment will be carried out to analyse the possible effects of introducing the new species to those areas (e.g. the potential of invasion/invasiveness).
Therefore this project will practically demonstrate how agroforestry systems enhance smallholders’ capacity to counter the risks of food insecurity in their ecological zones. The knowledge of agroforestry systems will fabricate the smallholder farmers more in efficient water utilization, improved microclimate, enhanced soil productivity and nutrient cycling, control of pests and diseases and thus diverse and everlasting farm income.
How will I do this? The relations between agroforestry and soil conservation vary with climate, soil type and landforms. In this project we will firstly conduct desktop review (survey) on species – site matching in the different climatic zones of Tanzania. This will include preliminary site visits in the selected areas. Secondly it will involve visiting the farmers and conducting a brief needs assessment related to agroforestry especially in relation to crop yield and pests and diseases control.
Then, agroforestry species will be identified and matched to site conditions in the selected zones. They will also be matched to the different crops grown in those areas.
Local communities will then be trained on agroforestry practices. Lists of suitable species will be freely provided to the rural communities in local names to facilitate the understanding. Initially, the local communities will be freely provided with agroforestry species (e.g. tree seedlings) as a motivation in cultivating the attitude of tree growing in their farms. They will also be trained on nursery techniques on tree raising for project sustainability. These species will be selected on the basis of soil fertility improvement and pests and diseases control to achieve sustainable crop protection in those areas and elsewhere in Tanzania.
Who are, or could be, the key stakeholders and beneficiaries? The targeted key stakeholders and the beneficiaries in this project are the stallholder farmers and tree growers including crop cultivators and the pastoralists, village environmental committee, farmers’ groups/associations, and government officials. The implementation of the innovation has not yet started.
From the proposed outcomes of my innovation it is expected that:
- Farmers will be able to choose appropriate species for the farms in relation to the climatic zones and the types of crops grown in their areas.
- Farmers will be able to choose suitable species for protection of pests and diseases in relation to the climatic zones and the types of crops grown in their areas.
- Farmers will be able to choose appropriate species for crop yield (e.g. nitrogen fixing leguminous)
- The knowledge of tree nursery techniques and the general art of raising trees will be imparted to the farmers and the local communities in general
- The knowledge will be used in the future even when the project is completed
Some of the measures of success include:
- Improved land cover/forest cover
- Increase of the annual rainfall,
- Improved crop yield
- Improved soil fertility and water retention
- Improved atmospheric humidity
- Reduced pests and diseases incidences
- Improved household incomes
The innovation idea will bring a positive social economic impact to the community by imparting agroforestry skills which in turn improves crop yield, improves soil fertility and water retention, reduce pests and diseases incidences, provides household wood requirements and thus improves household incomes.
I am motivated to do this innovation because agroforestry approaches have been found to work in many parts of the world especially in developing world. The approaches have been appropriate in reducing poverty in rural areas. Agroforestry is also important in combating the effects of climate change. Agroforestry is also environmentally friendly and can be practiced with low capital investment and manpower. I am passionate because I have participated in several projects in which agroforestry were one of the project successes. I am interested in scaling up the successes stories in other areas of Tanzania by advocating the need of practicing agroforestry. I strongly believe that if properly adopted, agroforestry have great potential in eradicating poverty in Tanzania.
Practicing agroforestry helps to uphold the biophysical health of an agroecosystem by delivering benefits like water conservation, control of pests and diseases, improved microclimate conditions, and soil fertility.
In water and soil distinctiveness, agroforestry practices have both direct and indirect impacts on water availability including change in precipitation patterns, while the indirect ones are includes increases in losses through runoff and evapotranspiration. For example intercropping maize with Leucaena spp is important for increase of the efficient use of rain water by increasing the efficiency of soil moisture retention, nutrient recycling, space utilization, and additional biomass, at the same time maintaining stable yields. Another gain is to play as buffer systems. The existence of the agroforestry tree species help to buffer against extreme parameters by modifying temperatures, providing shade and shelter, and provide food sources during drought. Buffering of humidity and reduction of extremes air and soil temperature provide a favorable microclimate while minimizing tree crop competition. The use of disruption of spatial patterns and cycles, disruption of temporal pattern, allelopathy effect, soil suppressiveness, crop physiological resistance, and conservation of natural predation, all these reduce damage from pests and diseases and improve crop yield.
Emmanuel Lipindi, Tanzania