Trees for Food Security: Improving sustainable productivity in farming systems and enhanced livelihoods through adoption of Evergreen agriculture in eastern Africa

Project Location(s):

Project Timeframe: 
Jun 2012 to Nov 2016

Related Country(s): Burundi, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda

Funding: Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research (ACIAR)

Partner(s): Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR), Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB), National Forestry Resources Research Institute (NAFFORI), Institut des Sciences Agronomiques du Burundi (ISABU), Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center(CIMMYT), lnternational Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), World Vision

Trees for Food Security Project- Improving sustainable productivity in farming systems and enhanced livelihoods through adoption of Evergreen agriculture in eastern Africa

  • What the project is about

The aim of this project is to enhance food security for resource-poor rural people in Eastern Africa through research that underpins national programmes to scale up the use of trees within farming systems in Ethiopia and Rwanda and then scale out successes to relevant agro-ecological zones in Uganda and Burundi.

The specific objectives of the project are:

  1. To characterize target farming landscapes and systems, and develop tools for matching species and management options to sites and circumstances.
  2. To generalize predictions of impacts of tree species and management on crop productivity, water resources and nutrients at field, farm and landscape scales to inform scaling up to improve food security and reduce climate risk.
  3. To develop effective methods and enabling environments for scaling up and out the adoption of trees on farms.
  4. To develop databases and tools for monitoring and evaluation of the impact of scaling up and out the adoption of trees on farms.
  5. To enhance capacity and connectivity of national partner institutions (including farmer groups) in developing and promoting locally appropriate options for adoption of farm trees.

The objectives are organized in form of Work Packages (WP) and led by a work package leader.

Major impacts and outcomes:

Establishment of five rural resource Centers (2 in Rwanda, 2 Ethiopia and 1 in Uganda) and nurseries to enhance training and supply of improved tree germplasm. The RRCs have also provided business opportunities for farmer groups and unemployed youth particularly through grafted fruit trees.

   

Farmers benefit from Avocado seedlings from the RRC in Zeway and tomatoes from the RRC demonstration farm

 

A section of farmer trainees budding oranges at the RRC in Mbale

Development of a vegetation and species selection map for Burundi which is integrated with the rest of VECEA map including species distribution and species selection tools; and 2 suitable tree species selection tools for Rwanda and Ethiopia.

Improved understanding of tree crop interactions in different species and contexts through establishment of four long-term tree diversity trials, more than 20 controlled on farm and on-station experiments. Over 5,000 farmers have been involved in participatory trials and associated tree planting activities.

 

Kuli Tiki, a champion farmer whose farm was used as a model farm for other farmers in her area shows the reviewers the different tree species on her farm

 

Clemena Mukarugwira, Tamarillo farmer from Karago Sector with Tony Barlett at her piece of land planted with tamarillo

Enhanced tree crop modelling capability using a new version of Australia’s agricultural production modeling framework (APSIM agroforestry Next Generation) developed through partnership between CSIRO and ICRAF.

   

Installation of a sap-flow gauge on Cordia africana Tree in Uganda

Richard Namunyu explaining how the sap-flow gauge works.

Capacity development and strengthening through farmer training and support in MSc and PhD training and through training of national staff in development courses and skills. To enhance outreach of the project initiatives, the project maintains an extensive database in the ICRAF dataverse and the project website which is a repository of project resources and tools. Improved extension systems where training and the use of novel extension methods to promote trees on farms has been achieved.

Through the project, about 2 million tree seedlings have been provided across the project site with close monitoring of their performance by the project staff. Farmers, extension workers and policy makers understanding on the role of trees especially on- farm has also been enhanced.

  

Tree seedlings distribution in West Shewa, Ethiopia

 

A farmer in Gakoma, Kadahenda, Gishwati staking her climbing beans using Alnus stakes from her farm


Agroforestry trees transportation from nursery and plantation on farm, Burundi

Farmers' Testimonials

  • Murorunkwere Marie Louise
    Rwanda

    “I planted  Alnus acuminata through the project in November 2014. The trees are performing well and I hopes they will rehabilitate my land by controlling soil erosion, and I will benefit from bean stakes and biomass in the near future”.

  • Richard Namunyu
    Uganda

    “I am very proud of the project and that is why I don’t want it to just be about the activities and recommendations highlighted, but also about a learning and exploring opportunity for my family and I, before the Project comes to an end. I want to enjoy the process as well as reap maximum benefits, and that is why I have tweaked some of the ideas given. Farmers in this area tell me I have more than enough, why work so hard? I however say, I am not satisfied, and since I have the energy and land, there is no reason to stop,”

  • Richard Namunyu
    Uganda

    I am earning more through this project than I used to before. I now earn UGX 200,000 from each acre of beans in each harvesting period. I get an average annual income of UGX 3 million. My 6 children have never been sent home for lack of fees or study materials,

  • Joseph Desiree
    Rwanda

    "I’m happy about these tree varieties introduced by the project because the farm yield has doubled from between 20-25kgs to 40-50kgs of climbing beans. This is enough to consume at home, sell at the local market and retain seeds for the next planting season”

  • Samuel Wamono
    Uganda

    “I have four children whom I enrolled in a private school which is way more expensive than public schools and I haven’t lacked fees to support them. I also use the proceeds from to purchase household items and sustain my family’s needs. I owe my success to knowledge and skills got from the Elgon Trust Women Group and additional skills and support from the Trees for Food Security Project,”

  • Carolyne Musuya
    Uganda

    “Courtesy of the Project, all members in Elgon Trust Women Group are smartly dressed, have neat hair and still have some income left to cater for personal needs. Moreover, since its women’s role to fetch firewood, it’s much easier now as we have them readily available in our farms hence don’t have to travel distances for the same,”

  • Edushe Guye
    Ethiopia

    “I am ecstatic now that I have access to clean water as I will now farm more fruit trees without fear of failure. The well is also serving my neighbours who before had to travel long distances to access water,”

  • Tesfaye Tesgara
    Ethiopia

    “I joined the project 3 years ago. I have acquired a wealth of information mainly on the benefits of trees. I have also learnt about improving tree growth by applying manure because I am involved in the participatory trials experiments. Using the knowledge gained from the project I strongly recommend provision of more fruit tree seedlings so that I can establish a fruit orchard as opposed to only having a few tree seedlings. A fruit orchard will be more beneficial in future”

  • Kuli Tiki
    Ethiopia

    “I joined the project 3 years ago. I have benefited from the project through provision of tree seedlings such as Sesbania sesban, Grevillea robusta, avocado, mango, Cordia africana Moringa stenopetala. So far I have seen direct benefits from Sesbania by selling tree seeds. I have also been trained on the various benefits of the multipurpose trees and tree management. Before the project I did not know of some additional/multipurpose use the trees. These trees will help me in future and that’s why I manage them through watering and fencing”

In pictures

  • Discussions with Butta sub-county farmers participating in the project's long-term trials. Photo May Muthuri
  • Project team and reviewers posing for a group photo with Elgon Trust Women Group. Photo Catherine Muthuri
  • A farmer potting mangoes at the Mbale RRC. Photo May Muthuri
  • A farmer grafting mangoes at the Mbale RRC. Photo May Muthuri
  • A farmer demonstrates how potting tubes are made at the Mbale RRC. Photo May Muthuri
  • John, a champion farmer...
  • Longterm experiment at Bugesera managed by Rwanda Agricultural Board in Rwanda
  • Joseph Desiree Rugerero, a climbing beans farmer at Karago Sector
  • Clemena Mukarugwira, Tamarillo farmer from Karago Sector with Tony Barlett at her piece of land planted with tamarillo
  • Clemena Mukarugwira, Tamarillo farmer from Karago Sector holding her health insurance certificate
  • Clemena Mukarugwira, Tamarillo farmer from Karago Sector answers questions from the reviewers
  • Women working at the RRC plant seedlings
  • Shifarow Tadesse, Associate Researcher and Process Leader at Bako Agricultural Research Centre explains to the review team the work done at the longterm trial site.
  • Kuli Tiki, a champion farmer whose farm was used as a model farm for other farmers in her area shows the reviewers the different tree species on her farm
  • Edushe Guye, Model farmer from Gerbi Village, Batu Area stands by his newly dug well
  • Edushe Guye, Model farmer from Gerbi Village, Batu Area shares how a newly dug borehole has helped him plant more fruit trees
  • Batu RRC workers prepare seed beds for planting tree seedlings.
  • An RRC worker at Karama RRC
  • A diagram representation of the layout of the longterm trial at Bako Agricultural Research Center
  • Tree seedling fenced for protection- Bako Ethiopia