By TRYNESS M BALE
GOVERNMENT has been urged to promote agroforestry in the agriculture sector to enhance the use of traditional fertiliser.
United Nations (UN) dryland ambassador, UN convention to combat desertification Dennis Garrity said the system as the potential to double agriculture production and improves the country’s food security.
“Agroforestry agriculture is now emerging as an affordable and accessible science based solution to regenerate the land on small-scale farms and increase family food production and cash income,” he said.
Dr Garrity said at the first African Agriculture Congress when he presented a paper on refining evergreen conservation agriculture to the farming systems of Africa in Lusaka recently.
He said agroforestry can assist in restringing the exhausted soils with richer sources of organic nutrients and dramatically increasing their crop yields and income.
He said the system integrates trees into crop and livestock production systems at the field, farm and landscape scales.
Agroforestry aims are to sustain a green cover on the land throughout the year.
Dr Garrity also said chemical fertiliser is an important means of restoring soil fertility, but prices are escalating, putting fertiliser use out of reach for most farmers.
“Agroforestry broadens the principle of crop rotation to encompass the role of fertiliser trees and other cash crop trees to provide needed biological and income diversity in the farm system,” he said.
He said types of intercropped trees may include species whose primary purpose is to provide products or benefits other than soil fertility replenishment alone.
Dr Garrity cited acacia and faidhebis trees are being used in Africa as fertiliser plants.
Dr Garrity also said the practice of agroforestry in the agriculture sector can help Government save 10 to 15 percent of the country’s income used on fertiliser annually on other developmental issues.