Trees are the better way to preserve soil living organisms and manage microclimate that limit quick change in soil exposure to drought and sunlight or running water
But this take time. Depending on the local climate 15 years to 50 years are necessary to benefit of trees effect.
This is a long term investment. This investment must be done taking into account the direct needings of the people among two to three generation. At the moment forest oragroforestry could be conduct under different and opposite ways.
So I prefere first to ask What is the misuse of a forest or an agroforestry area? This is for me the key challenge, not misuse natural capital.
One concrete example was the presence of earthworm under old faidherbia tree on the top of a hill in burkina faso under minus 600mM annual rainfall. earthworms benefit of faidherbia impact on soil humidity and earthworm have theyre cast under the top soil layer. This is showing us that we have to understand the interaction between trees and soils animals. The quicker they came under tree protection the better it is for preserving soil fertility in some climate. The innovative approach is to enhanced this "symbiosis" wich depend also on roots biochemical byproduct, and to be able to maintain biological Corridor between young and elder trees. This is a whole world we have to learn to deal with.
Food securities policy have to include trees and soil living organism as a community that is growing until the tree is alive. This community is responsible of the supporting services of the ecosystem for a long term . It is the pillar of the ecosystem. Before cutting an old tree you have to garantee that all the inhabitants of this community could find a place after the destruction of the tree. If not, no cutting. That was the role of sacred forest we have to maintain this traditional behaviour.
My views: The role of Forests, trees and agroforestry system in food and nutrition policy discussions is important for those small countries where mixed farming is practiced widely. This may be also true for a certain section of the population of developing countries. For example, the policy discussions are usually centered around contributions made by crops and livestock products on which the larger section of the population is dependent. This is because contributions made by forests, trees and agroforestry are either not quantified adequately to draw the attention of decision makers or confined to the poor section of the society where we consider it statistical insignificant.
Good practices : During a growing season, one can find a lot of non-wood forest products ( mushroom, bamboo shoots, herbs, medicinal plants, canes ..etc) available in the local markets. Oak logs are used to produce shitake mushroom. Fodders from forest and loppings ( also used as fuel wood) from on farm trees are fed to cattle. These products are nutritious and free from pollutants, chemicals in particular.
We need to engage the foresters involve in the social forestry and non-wood forest products work in food and nutrition policy discussions. It may be more appropriate to have first regional consultations before going for global discussion regarding contributions of forests, trees and agroforestry system to food and nutrition security. Good way to start is at the local level..recognition by the local leaders the importance of forests, trees and agroforestry...!
Thanks, Good luck!
Three crops in forests, trees on farms and agro-forestry systems provide an important source of food for households in rural areas. Different types of vegetables, fruits, berries, yams, leafy vegetables, spices, bee honey, honey produced from plant saps and many other types of foods and beverages come from these sources. Characteristics of these food sources are widely varied among different agro-ecological regions and these differences could be utilized to improve food diversity and food security of households. The other advantages are low input nature of production and the produce is mostly organic by default.
The tree crops help to improve households’ coping capacity to food insecurity that may arise due to seasonality crop production or crop failure. I have witnessed the capacity of these tree crops to supplement food during the period of food shortages. The households enjoy the blessing of tree crops that provided many types of foods and beverages (coffee, cocoa, pepper, mangoes, bananas, papaya, custard apples, sapodilla, guavas, rambutan, oranges, avocado, limes, pineapples, coconuts, jack fruits, bread fruit, yams, chilli, ginger, turmeric, leafy vegetables form tree crops). There are many types of medicinal plants that serves the villagers’ needs free of any charge. The agro-forestry systems’ capacity and potentials have been witnessed for generations and it could be promoted and protected to improve food security of households.
Food diversity of rural households shows a declining trend during the period of past few decades and tree crops can be effectively utilize to improve food diversity of rural households. The regions with more access to tree crops in their food systems show less incidents of malnutrition than regions with mono-crops. Some products from these systems are being channeled to urban niche markets. However, due to low levels of supply and long marketing channels, prices of available products remain high and products are not affordable to the urban poor.
If valued properly, in terms of nutrition, environmental services or monetary value, it would reveal the value of the system as well as the luxury of consumption of these food products. Therefore, obtaining statistics related to production and consumption and valuation of total economic benefits of these resources would be a challenge.
Any agricultural development plan should recognize the important features and capacity of the tree crops to provide food for households vis a vis seasonal crops. In reality such measures are rare and therefore, prior evaluation is needed to identify the capacity tree crops in a given region to supplement food requirements of households. Once identified, the development plans should accommodate appropriate measures to conserve available systems and its supporting topography.
Land clearance for seasonal crops, construction of houses and removal of trees due to other socio-economic reasons are the main causes of system’s degradation. This situation has serious implications on food security and valuable plant genetic resources. A concerted effort is imperative for conservation and development of these resources. It requires implementation of prudent land development planning as well as land use planning system. These requirements have been identified but implementation is a challenge.
Tree crops provide many benefits but absence of reliable data may results low level of policy attention. Investments and incentives for conservation, promotion of cultivation and investments on innovations (research and development, conservation methods, etc) are imperative for the proper utilization and development of these resources. Conservation effort would require establishment of field gene banks and provision of incentives for conservation within the existing agro-forestry systems. Another alternative for conservation is replanting of manmade-non-food-timber forests with multipurpose timber-cum-food trees.
These production systems show signs of degradation, in terms of area, productivity and diversity. There are many reasons associated with this trend. Lands have fragmented into small units due to due to population pressure. Land fragmentation causes a severe threat to presence of tree crops in gardens. People may not like to see big trees around houses. There are many concerns such as danger of falling fruits, falling of trees due to strong winds and possible damage caused by expanding roots to the foundation of buildings, etc. So we need innovations for small to medium tress or improved supply of services such as services of arborists, to make trees fit into small gardens.
Indigenous knowledge is associated with tapping and processing of some products from tree crops. A disruption to the transfer of this traditional knowledge can be observed and it is associated mainly with the changes in socio-economic environment. Lack of such knowledge would make these resources idle and it may give a wrong economic signal to the owners of resources to invest resources in alternative uses. Inclusion of traditional knowledge in local educational and agricultural extension systems and simple innovations to overcome difficulties of traditional processing systems would facilitate effective utilization of resources and their conservation efforts. The benefits of these systems could also be transferred to urban centers through appropriate promotion of marketing and cultivation of tree crops as a part of urban agriculture.
Trees are life, this is a common saying .If trees are life then; we must begin to view them as such in Africa.
Policy; we’ve never been short of policies in forestry and agriculture. In short, good policy implementation in agro-forestry produced a lot of the trees my generation has come to enjoy especially the economic trees of the Benue belt in Nigeria. These trees provide enormous wealth for families who have managed them over the years. am not very sure of the average life span of these trees, but I strongly believe that in years to come if no deliberate action is taken by all stakeholders to bring back the next generation to the love of growing new trees ,we shall be seeing the last of most of these trees.
Legal ;if trees are life then legal policy on tree cutting and felling can be used to control the in discriminate felling going on especially in and around the Federal Capital Territory(FCT) of Nigeria. The government itself is the biggest criminal and actor in this activity. The FCT being a virgin land, when it was selected to become the new capital of Nigeria; One would have expected the government to develop deliberate policy to save and sustain these trees most of which provided and are still providing the indigenous people and other inhabitants food and income. The government has been responsible for massive clearing of layouts for construction regarded as development.
Institutional frame- work can be effective when it is driven by policy that has legal backing. As such each actor in the framework understands his or her duty and is legally bonded to adhere to rules and regulations. If the major actor overlooks an issue and turns around to force others to do what it is suppose to do, then some is wrong. This has been the bane of Nigeria (where it seems that nothing works except for people of like mind).This is where civil society could come to help, but unfortunately ,most of them own these organisations or partner with those who accept the norm, hence they are the ones striving currently in Nigeria. Any time there is an opportunity, I remember to ask this simple question; why do we have so many development agencies in Nigeria and yet nothing seems to be working. It is time for the International community to re-evaluate itself in Nigeria.
A lot private individuals have taken up planting of economic trees although there is deliberate policy in place where the government is encouraging such. These individuals have observed the massive contributions these trees make to urban food security .year in year, year out famers produce food in rural communities but find it difficult transporting these foods to urban cities.
At individual level, people must accept to go beyond self and embrace tree planting. Through my interaction with people , in trying to encourage tree planting, I have had people tell me that, it will take too long for them to obtain the benefit of a tree they have planted because trees take too long to grow and produce fruits. When are fore parents planted the trees we are enjoying now, they were not selfish in their thinking, this is what the world has become. Selfishness has become a global mentality even with issues of food security.
Culture; we had myths and belief that prevented people from felling certain trees. Culture and tradition can help in changing people’s perception about the importance of trees especially those contributing to food security. Of common interest is the Shea butter tree in the central belt zone of Nigeria, which is a very good firewood and charcoal producer but its economic value at a global level supersedes these local uses , this is also same for the locust bean tree and many others.
Policy driven by institutional framework taking into consideration every actor and stakeholder’s actions and benefits can help to revive agro forestry and food security. When a segment of society is left of policy formation, a common practice with our governments, it becomes difficult for communities to act. The top to bottom approach must change especially when dealing with issues relating to nature, the people closest to nature are at the bottom not the top.
Dear Moderators and members of the FSN
Forest contribution to food security and nutrition and problems depends on socioeconomic condition and culture. I am especially interested to contribute on the issue of food security associated international policy and support on common property forest. It is similar to Mr Champak arguments that how international agencies rob forest based people for their own benefit and elite class of their interest. Regarding using the idea of this forum in the conference some people take idea from others and sell to others as this is his or her creation. It is unethical practice but if they acknowledge the source, I believe it is unethical. There are hundreds cases of deceiving and robbing of poor forest based communities by international agencies by using symbolic and material powers and elites.
1. Evidences of robbing of forest based people by international agencies
Case One: I would share a REDD project case in the Khasi tribal community, a socially vulnerable ethnic group in Meghalaya India, in support of Mr Champak argument. It has been planned and practiced to replace local fodder based livestock (cattle) system by imported grain based livestock (poultry and pig) system in the communities (Project Idea Note, 2011). According to the REDD project agreement the community must comply that “Cattle if reared, should be of superior breed and stall-fed with cattle feed procured from outside” (Project Idea Note P. 16). The REDD is an international policy and is still under a pilot phase. The tribal community has eighty-five percent land areas under forest. Its private landholding size is average 0.25 ha per household which is insufficient to produce enough food for family consumption alone. The REDD project is advised and prepared by Community Forestry International (a California based INGO), funded by the USAID and certified by Plan Vivo Foundation (a Scottish-based INGO). The farming offsetting carbon emission produced by developed countries and affluent societies. If you read Vickers et al. (2012) document produced by FAO and RECOFT, the REDD project is considered innovation and indirectly advised for adoption of the model. From my knowledge of indigenous community and Nepal, the change of the forestry and farming systems will have a big long lasting social and environmental effect. It is very seriously bad advice and support. The intervention on the farming and forestry systems are done to offset carbon emission produced by developed countries and affluent societies. If the policy experiment with that degree of social risk had been done with vulnerable groups in developed countries, there would be considered it a serious issue (a social crime) and make a very big public outcry. However, the unethical practice (a social crime) has been internationally supported and highlighted as an innovation in developing countries by the international organizations. From my understanding the communal forest management for multipurpose uses would benefit environment and societies. In contrast the external agencies are to buy means of livelihoods of poor communities for offsetting carbon emission produced by developed countries and affluent societies, and are challenging the vulnerable lives and livelihoods of indigenous people and other forest-based communities.
Project Idea Note. 2011. Project Idea Note for the Umiam Sub-watershed REDD+ Project. East Khasi Hills District Meghalaya, India. Plan Vivo. http://www.planvivo.org/wp-content/uploads/Khasi-Hills-Community-REDD-ProjectIdeanote-May13EM.pdf
Vicker, B. Trines, E. and Pohnan, E. 2012. Community Guidelines for Assessing Forestry Volunteer Carbon Market. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Regional Office for Asia and The Pacific. Bangkok.
Case Two: Uses green forest products in the some Nepali community forests experimented for REDD policy, are restricted and criminalized for offsetting carbon emission produced by developed countries and affluent societies. These products and services of the forests are daily need basic goods of poor people barely sustaining their lives. You can see the problems in the forests experimented REDD policy by ICIMOD and funded by NORAD. Elites from national policy and community level are paid to criminalise the practices of forest products uses by the poor people. International agencies for example, ICIMOD casider the work as an innovation (please read the article by Karky et al (2012). From my assessment international interventions on the mountain forest management has been destroying social-ecological systems evolved and sustained in hundreds years of mountain civilization. Based on my study Nepalese civil societies and forest based poor communities are abused. There are many problems which are not possible to share here.
BS; Karki, S; Rana, EB; Kotru, R. 2013. ‘Innovative interventions in Nepal for implementing REDD+ at the community level. In Aneel, SS; Haroon, UT; Niazi, I (eds) . Redefining paradigms of sustainable development in south Asia, pp 215-236. Lahore: Sang-e-Meel Publications
If some people point the bad activities of the international agencies and voice in favour of poor people, they will be filtered from participating in different professional events or forums and excluded from jobs. Those people who brings ideas to deceive and rob people they will be rewarded. This is tradition of all people at management level of all international organizations including FAO.
What are the key challenges and bottlenecks hindering a greater contribution of forests, trees on farms and agroforestry systems to food security?
The factors hindering a greater contribution of forests to food security are deeply seated in institutions, more serious than gender discrimination problem. For example, the people in influential decision making position of national and international organizations consider that the forest should be used for timber production and environmental conservation and mostly to benefit for distance users -urban elites and affluent societies. It should be used only residual (often termed waste) products for food security for local people. It is also seen advice given by international agencies to Nepal. It is also clearly reflected in the discussion concept note distributed for this forum by the moderators. People working in forestry field are too much conservative and biased against poor people and indigenous communities.
· What are some concrete examples of innovative approaches, or good practices that increase the contributions of forests and trees to food security and nutrition goals?
It is indigenous systems of forest management for multipurpose uses which produce resources for food security and a good habitat for biodiversity conservation. It is well proven but international agencies advised Nepal government that these are bad forestry practices. The agencies advised to follow industrial forestry practices (please refer Forestry Sector Master Plan 1988). Nowadays the international agencies funded and advised to restrict the forestr products uses and mange the forestr for strict conservation model to offset carbon emission of affluent societies. The forestry model
Great subject - a perennial, of course, but there is always an opportunity of sharing information with those who may be new to the topic. Take Roy Stacy's story from the Sahel of the 1970s, for example, and consider the time-line involved with planting trees in your community - for that next generation, of course.
Just over five years the Sub-Regional FAO office for East Africa in Addis Ababa explored the mixed blessings of Prosopis spp. in the region. Many of you will know of the complexities of introducing and living with alien plants that quickly abscond their original planting areas, out-perform local management and eventually steal the land that was once open to everyone; and all this for the best of reasons - to provide feed, fodder, timber and livelihoods.
An Expert Consultation was held in Ethiopia in 2007 from which a manual/proceedings was prepared that captured the experience of local people - growers, processors, advisors, experts and others. Eradication efforts in Sudan, timber use in Kenya and charcoal manufacture in Ethiopia were discussed together with a host of other examples, noted and recorded alongside use of food from Prosopis spp. in countries from around the globe - Mexico, US, Argentina, Kenya and others. The proceedings contain a useful collection of recipes for those interested.
If you live in that belt of dry bush country that spans Africa from Senegal to Somalia you may already be familiar with this species - risks, advantages, opportunities and more. Should you be new to the species or simply want to update yourself with information that may be new to you - get a copy of the proceedings. You should find it on-line in FAO publications.
Messages to take home, however, can be profound: In summary - don't introduce this plant into new lands.
File attached containing Paper #10 Sudan/Babiker & El Tayeb. Note section #8 'Enhanced utilization'.
Look forward to following the debate.
10 February 2013
This topic is especially relevant now, as donors and governments are scaling up their programmes to fight undernutrition through agriculture. If we ignore the contributions of trees and other uses of land to people’s livelihoods and diets, we risk negatively impacting nutrition in our rush to promote agriculture for nutrition.
How can we increase the contribution of trees and agroforestry to food and nutrition security?
A crucial first step is to ask: Whose nutrition (and livelihoods) do trees contribute to currently? Research on livelihoods shows that the contribution of trees can differ drastically between places and between social groups. There is clear evidence that in many places, it is the poorest and most marginalized social groups that rely on trees and forest resources the most (McSweeney 2004). This isn’t because of some inherent connection to nature, but because the poor don’t have access to more profitable alternatives.
We should think carefully before we proscribe a solution that involves formalizing tenure for land and trees or setting up community management institutions. Evidence shows that initiatives to formalize and ‘rationalize’ management of trees and forests often end up harming exactly the vulnerable groups who rely on these resources. Their access to trees is often reduced when interventions formalize the tenure system or increase the economic value of trees (Gray 2006). In my experience, I found evidence that the poor were excluded when I examined the long-term impacts of a highly successful community-based forest management system in western Senegal (Robinson 2011).
And trees may not always be the answer. At times, agroforestry can compete with other land uses that arguably contribute more to nutrition. Research in The Gambia (Schroeder 1999) documented that donor efforts to promote agroforestry (controlled by men) resulted in the displacement of irrigated vegetable production (which had been controlled by women).
None of the research mentioned here looked at how reducing vulnerable people’s access to trees affected nutrition. But we can reasonably guess that in many of these cases, the outcome was not good. I am not familiar with the research on how gender affects allocation of income towards nutrition, but I imagine this is an important consideration. Those who know this area, I would be very interested to hear what the evidence shows.
By citing this research, I am not trying to say we shouldn’t try to improve how trees and forestry contribute to nutrition. Let’s tread carefully, mindful that past interventions have often not worked out for those people most vulnerable to undernutrition. Light touch interventions may be the best candidates. We should try to work with the grain, in the context of existing practices and informal institutions that allow the poor to access trees. Let’s first be sure not to undermine the access they currently have to foods and income from trees, and then look for the best strategies for increasing their access to enough healthy food.
Gray, L. 2006. Decentralization, Land Policy, and the Politics of Scale in Burkina Faso. In Globalization and New Geographies of Conservation, K.S. Zimmerer, ed., p. 277-295. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.
McSweeney, K. 2004. Forest product sale as natural insurance: the effects of household characteristics and the nature of shock in eastern Honduras. Society and Natural Resources, 17(1):39–56.
Robinson, E. 2011. Trading Solidarity for Environmentality: Subject Formation and Intimate Government of Forests in Kaolack Region, Senegal. Master’s thesis. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Schroeder, R.A. 1999. Shady Practices: Agroforestry and Gender in The Gambia. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
In 2006, climate scientists first reported on the effects of volatile organic compounds called “monoterpenes” that are emitted by earthʼs northern evergreen boreal forests, also called the tiaga (Russian for "forest"). The subarctic forest is dominated by conifers, mainly pine, spruce and fir, that begins where the tundra ends. The boreal forest is the world's largest terrestrial biome, encircling the planet’s northern hemisphere. The tiaga covers 6.4 million square miles (11 percent of the world's land surface area) from Siberia to Alaska, Canada, Northern Europe and Northern Asia.
The boreal “tiaga” region
In addition to sequestering and storing atmospheric carbon, the forests exude a concoction of volatile aerosol compounds, including "monoterpenes," the fragrance we associate with pine trees.
Monoterpenes shield the earth from the sun in two ways. First, they rise from the forest into the stratosphere. The tiny droplets physically refract solar radiation away from the earth, effectively cooling the planet.
The monoterpene molecules also serve as condensation nuclei, “seeding” bright and persistent clouds, further shielding the earth from the sun. For thousands of years, atmospheric monoterpenes from the evergreen trees were a critical component of the fortunate alchemy between earth and sky.
At what cost, toilet paper?
The boreal forest is the world's most extensive network of pure lakes, rivers and wetlands that sequester and store twice as much carbon as tropical forests. Home to billions of migratory songbirds, tens of millions of ducks and geese, and millions of caribou, the boreal region is an irreplaceable global treasure. Regardless of its critical importance, the boreal biome is under increasing pressure. Recent studies show that boreal forests are being destroyed faster than any other terrestrial ecosystem.
Since 1950, more than half of the worldʼs boreal forests have disappeared, due to logging, fires, mining, oil and gas development, insect predation, global temperature increase, reservoir flooding and storm damage. About two-thirds of the trees that have been cut down were made into paper products including books, newspapers, magazines, catalogs, telephone directories, cardboard, tissue and toilet paper. Seven percent (7%) of the world population living in the U.S. uses fifty percent (50%) of the tissue paper products -- about fifty pounds per person per year. More than one million trees wind up in American mailboxes every year as “junk mail.”
Eighty percent (80%) of all forest products go directly to the United States. If Cannabis agriculture had not been prohibited in the U.S. for the past seventy-five years, all of the paper products could have been made better, cheaper and without harm to the environment from organically grown, biodegradable hemp. Hemp paper requires about one-seventh the chemicals needed to make paper from trees.
As it is today, warming temperatures in the northern latitudes have extended the breeding cycle of insects that infest the trees, eventually killing them. More trees are dying from insect pest infestation than ever before. Increasing UV-B radiation is broiling the trees, particularly at higher elevations, where the atmosphere is attenuated.
Changes in reflective properties of the earth’s surface and the composition of aerosols in the atmosphere over the past fifty years have substantially shifted the heat exchange profile of the atmosphere and the icy, snowy “cryosphere” greatly heating up global temperatures. Present climate conditions, epidemic insect pest infestation, more violent weather, volcanic and seismic activity -- along with an increasing demand for paper products -- do not favor recovery of the boreal forests. Unless the premier crop for paper production is reintroduced, the earth will broil to extinction under increasing intensities of UV-B radiation.
Relatively stable, homeostatic concentrations of atmospheric monoterpenes have historically determined the levels of solar ultraviolet-B (UV-B) mid-length wavelengths of sunlight to which life on earth has adapted very, very gradually over an inconceivably intricate span of moments, seconds, days, months, years, decades, centuries, millennia, and eons. With the relatively sudden catastrophic death of the boreal forest in just the past sixty years, monoterpene concentrations and cryospheric cooling of the planet have plummeted in what amounts to less than the “blink of an eye” on an evolutionary time-scale.
One of the most disastrous mistakes our species has ever made is a direct consequence of Cannabis prohibition. Being denied the natural, competitive selection process afforded by a truly free agricultural market, mankind is consuming 5,543 square miles (3.5 million acres) of earth’s stratospheric shield against the sun. Gaia’s most evolved masterpieces of creation are callously murdered unnecessarily each day, for toilet paper.
Earth is being subjected to an accelerating increase in “UV-Broiling” levels, contributing to further temperature increase. Inconceivable as it may be, the trees of the boreal forest continue to be cut at a rate of about five acres per minute. Expanses of forest the size of Connecticut are being clearcut each day.
Unless the monoterpene levels of our atmosphere are returned to the homeostatic concentrations established over thousands of years, the earth will eventually “UV-Broil” to extinction. Agricultural production of monoterpenes that Cannabis uniquely affords has become critical to our survival.
Bravo FAO for taking up this very important subject. It could not come at a better time, especially with the strong international interst in resiliance. In my view, there will be little or no progress in resiliance in rural areas of at-risk countries without an increase in trees density. There ia a well known proverb in the Sahel, which when translated from the Wolof version, says that "the first best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second best time is now."
A little know success story of trees and their inextracibale link to food security can be found in the Sahel, in Niger. Following the great Sahrlian drought and famine in 1973-74, local communities working in Niger with several different donors began in the early 80s to use community based forestry management as a basis for "drought proofing" their communities. This widespread effort was supported by France, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands and Swiss aid programs, and much of the best work was done through a private American company, the International Resources Group (IRG). I am especially happy that these efforts, were not evaluated prematurely, after 5 years, like so many projects, because there would have been sparse results. Instead after 30 years the results were dramatic.
Among the techniques used in Nigerwere the leaving of tree shoots in the arable fields, especially of valuable species, rather than scraping away all vegitation before planting grains. There was also considerable reforestation, especially of the nitrogen fixing acacia albida and also baobab because of their valuable and nutritious byproducts. This effort was comprehensivly assessed by the CILSS and the Agrymet Center in Niamey in 2006, with the assistance of the USGS, and the findings astonished even the most fervent supporters of the approach. It was conservatively estimated that over 3 million hectares, mostly in the most denssley populated regions, now benefiting. Ttree density over the 30 years has increased 20 fold and crop yields are two to three times higher without the use of chemical fertilizers, which are too costly for millett farming. Most suprising has been a progressive rise in water tables through better rainfall capturing, and this has made off season bean and vegetable farming possible,. It has also encouraged the farming of onions as a cash crop and Niger's production of onions has gone from 10,000 tons a year in 1980 to 270,000 tons in 2006.
The ability of individuals to own trees has been an important factor in this hidden success story in Niger. Legally, individuals could not own trees before 2004. They are now considered private property separate from the land they occupy,so trees can be bought and sold separate from the land. This has stimulated private reforestation efforts and given rise to sustainable wood lot production of fire wood and construction materials, generating off farm income for rural peoples so they can access food.
Yes, Niger is still plagued by food insecurity threats and malnutrition is of great concern, but the hazards would be so much worse today without the community based tree regeneration program that was undertaken since 1980 and is stll going on. Rather, it has been Niger's very high population growth rate that have attenuated the gains made in farming, but that is another topic.
Roy A. Stacy
Senior Consultant to WFP and FAO for FSIN.
For the first question, I summarise the following challenges;
- Land tenure conflicts and gender issues in Africa is a big challenge to forest, trees on farms and agroforestry systems to food security, since most women cultivate the land but do not have ownership rights, moreso, in Africa, most forest and forest land is an exclusively state property and belonging, therefore, most of the local populations do not have adequate farmland.
- Bad governance including bribery and corruption in the management of forest and agricultural sector.
- About 89% of Africa still practice local and traditional farming systems which are less productive and cost ineffective, therefore, modern agroforestry farming systems and farming technologies that is still in low scale needs intensive expansion and improvement.
- Experts in modern farming systems of Agroforestry is insufficient, thus, requiring massive training.
- Problems of invasive species and pests on forest, trees on farms and agroforestry is adversely affecting food security.
For question two, I suggest that the following methods can increase the contributions of forests and trees to food security and nutrition goals;
+ Agroforestry system and approach
+ Participatory forest management approach through community forests
+ Recognition of indigenous peoples rights according to the TRIPS Agreement, ABS (Access to Benefit Sharing)
For question three, my opinion on what is needed for food security policies and strategies to recognize the contribution and value that forests and trees bring is as follows;
* Implement and re-enforce the law
* Up-scale training and transfer technology
* Develop and implement pilot projects for replication
* Make constant monitoring and evaluation and collect data
* Identify, promote and reward deserving and key players in the sector
* Include value addition as a strategy
Links and resources:
International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition
FAO Forestry Department
Learning event on Agroforestry
The FSN Forum is supported by the project Coherent food security responses: incorporating right to food into global and regional food security initiatives.