This is a book which examines in great detail the design and implementation of a rural development project for smallholder farmers in Paraguay. Over a period of seven years, from 2003 to 2010, the project applied the basic concepts of conservation agriculture, forestry and agroforestry benefiting 17 thousand farm families in the Eastern Province of the country. The practices promoted closely paralleled those being recommended for sustainable crop production intensification by FAO which seek to enhance agricultural productivity whilst protecting the natural environment and improving ecosystem services.
The conservation agriculture practices focus on hand and animal powered systems of direct planting, permanent soil cover and crop associations, successions and rotations. Agroforestry practices incorporate trees into agricultural systems to ensure a steady supply of fruits and other cash crops which diversify the income streams and nutrition of the farming families.
Finally the importance of forest managements and reforestation are emphasized to ensure that deforestation is combated and reversed and that forestry exploitation is both profitable and sustainable.
The book gives a clear-eyed analysis of the lessons learnt and the factors for success and failure and so is an invaluable resource for those contemplating similar projects in the future.