CFS 44 Side Event
Agroforestry practices hold the key to food security and resilience
Tuesday, October 10, 8:30 to 10:00
Philippines Room (C277)
H.E Anna Gebremedhin, Permanent Representative of Finland to the Rome-Based UN Agencies
Mike Hands, Director, Inga Foundation
Florence Reed, Director, Sustainable Harvest International
Dror Avisar, Platform Head, Yield Protection, Molecular Biology, R&D, Futuragene
Terence Sunderland, Principal Scientist, CIFOR
Simone Borelli, Agroforestry and Urban and Periurban Forestry Officer, FAO (Italy)
Agroforestry systems have tremendous potential to address world food security. Worldwide, as many as 1.7 billion people are estimated to be forest-dependent. Agroforesty reinforces all four of the pillars of food security: (i) food availability, (ii) food system stability, (iii) food accessibility, and (iv) food use. Forests and trees play a crucial role in strengthening the resilience of food systems; in turn, sustainable farming reduces deforestation, a major contributor to climate change.
It is important to develop and mobilize policy-relevant knowledge on the direct and indirect contributions of forests and trees to food security and nutrition. It is also critical to celebrate and expand the role forests play in building resilience in environmental processes at many levels, from household to community to landscape. In addition, we must continue to represent and defend the right to adequate food for forest-dependent people.
Sustainable Harvest International provides smallholder farmers with tools and techniques to reduce their dependence on slash-and-burn farming techniques, improving soil health and crop yields.
The Inga Foundation offers a low-input alternative to slash-and-burn practices: Inga alley-cropping. The Foundation also researches restoration opportunities for landscapes degraded by repeated slash-and-burn. Discoveries have shown the importance of phosphorus in plants and forests to improve post-burn yields and protect fields from erosion.
Futuragene provides farmers with technologies that improve plant yields. In China, their breeding and germplasm selection, clonal propagation, containerized seedling production, and plantation management of the Yellowhorn Nut Tree have created a seedling ready for transplanting in half the traditional time. These technologies contribute to myriad environmental and socioeconomic benefits.
The FAO currently has agroforestry projects in Seychelles, Comoros, Honduras, Guatemala, and Rwanda with four areas of work focus:
- Strengthening political will and sharing policy expertise
- Making information about the transition to sustainable agriculture publicly available
- Bringing knowledge to the field
- Supporting countries as they prevent and mitigate risks
Agroforestry extension programs, including the CIFOR and FAO Forestry Division, also support smallholders. Barriers to agroforestry adoption for smallholders include, but are not limited to, (i) insecure land and tree tenure, (ii) poor intersectoral coordination, (iii) inadequate services for smallholders, (iv) insufficient support for women farmers, and (v) limited use of existing knowledge and data collection tools. Steps must be taken toward implementing solutions that encourage dissemination of sustainable agroforestry practices around the world.
- There is insufficient awareness of agroforestry as an essential part of sustainable farming and climate change mitigation.
- We must identify barriers to adoption of sustainable agroforestry techniques and create an environment that enables innovative problem-solving.
- Future monitoring needs to be evidence-based, acknowledging a persistent need for improved access to data.
- There is a clear need for partnerships, especially between the private and public sectors.