One of the major reasons we went to Rwanda was to learn more about agroforestry. below are some lessons we learnt on agroforestry during our trip.
Agroforestry is the practice of incorporating trees along with food crops and animals. The objective of Agroforestry is to improve productivity and mitigate against the effects of climate change.
The benefits of Agroforestry are:
Social: increase food production and nutrition, provides shelter, preserve cultural heritage among others
Economic: increase sources of income,
Environmental: makes soil healthy, preserves biodiversity, reduce climate actions.
In agroforestry, right species of trees need to be planted with right spacing between them for maximum result. 1 hectare (2.5 acres) of land requires 100 trees in Agroforestry practice which implies 10 meter spacing between trees.
- Alley cropping (hedgerows in cropland): practice of growing of annual crops or forage between rows of trees or shrubs to form hedgerows. This practice improves soil characteristics and fertility. Alley cropping can be done in areas with flat to
gently rolling terrain.
- Trees with perennial crops: the practice of intercropping trees in combination with other perennial crops such as coffee, sugarcane and tea.
- Wind Trees
- Contour tress
- Home garden
An agroforestry structure is a distinct use of different agroforestry practices in different location and over a certain period of time. The most common systems are:
- Agrisilviculture the practice of Planting trees among crops9k9o
- Agrisilvopastoral the practice of mixing trees with a crops and livestock
- Trees and insects – apiculture and sericulture
- Aquasilviculture the practice of mixing trees and water animals
Agroforestry Land Use
This refer to how you choose to plant the trees and how they interact with the crops. The common land use are:
- Woodlots: Woodlot refers to a cluster of trees grown together to produce timber, poles, or fuel wood (firewood and charcoal) and support other systems like bee-keeping, livestock and crop production.
- Fruit orchards: Refers to cluster of fruit trees. The leaves, seeds, fruits, nuts of fruit trees provide food with high nutrition value, medicine and other products. Choose trees that grows well in your area.
- Dispersed inter-planting: Trees are grown in a systematic way in fields alongside crops to provide food, fuel wood, building poles, fodder or gum. The trees also provide nutrients and organic matter for the soil, and shade for crops and livestock.
- Boundary planting: Boundary planting involves planting selected trees along field boundaries, hedges, borders and roadsides. The trees can create micro-climate for crops, create windbreaks, stabilise the soil, and sequester significant amounts of carbon.
Agroforestry Value Chains
Seed Bank business, Seedling production, Kitchen garden installation, Capacity development/training, Bee keeping, Fishery and animal husbandry, Firewood production, Timber production, Charcoal production, Manure production, Land scape management,Fruit production and processing, Agroforestry Tree Species.