|In 2014, the Climate Smart, Tree-Based, Co-Investment in Adaptation and Mitigation in Asia (SmartTree-Invest) project, which is funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry under the aegis of ICRAF, started work in Buol to try and address the issues faced by farmers.|
The first step for the research team was to hold focus-group discussion with women and men in eight villages to understand the problems. Several inter-linked problems were identified. First, the economic situation of the farmers was hard owing to low incomes because of the poor productivity of their land. Discussion revealed that this poor productivity was mainly caused by a lack of knowledge about farm management; most of them had minimal information about, and experience of, practices like pruning, creating compost and applying organic fertilizers, tree grafting, and the importance of spacing and shading in tree planting. It was clear from this news that improving management of trees was a ‘low-hanging fruit’ for the researchers.