Since 2015, The Ivory Foundation has been involved in projects to promote agroforestry in West and Southern Africa, in partnership with APAF (Association for the Promotion of Agroforestry).
The World Agroforestry Centre defines agroforestry as “a dynamic, ecologically based system of natural resource management that integrates trees into farms and the rural landscape, thereby diversifying and sustaining production to improve social, economic and environmental conditions for all land users”.
Agroforestry is a rational land-use system that increases the total productivity of cultivated land by combining trees and crops. This ancient agronomic technique has been updated to meet many of the expectations of human society.
Briefly, and not exhaustively, agroforestry has the following qualities:
- it fertilises the soil, enriching it with organic matter and giving it structure
- it enriches biodiversity in cultivated areas and therefore stabilises the environment
- it moderates the soil microclimate and helps to adapt to climate change; crop evapotranspiration is reduced.
- it improves soil porosity and its capacity to store water and nutrients
- it diversifies sources of income through the production of firewood, timber and fodder
- it increases income by saving on the purchase of fertilisers and treatments.
At the same time, agroforestry helps to combat erosion, deforestation and desertification, and to store carbon in the wood of the trees and in the soil, which is then enriched with organic matter, thereby reducing the volume of “carbon dioxide”, a greenhouse gas responsible for climate change.
Finally, according to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), “more than a billion hectares are available for conversion to high productivity agroforestry systems, which have the potential to significantly reduce poverty and deforestation, and to sequester carbon on a large scale. According to the IPCC, the potential for carbon sequestration could reduce CO2 in the atmosphere by 50 billion tonnes within 50 years.
In Africa, where the climate is favourable, associations such as APAF use certain families of trees, known as fertility trees, to fertilise the soil.
Since 2015, The Ivory Foundation has been involved in projects to promote agroforestry in West and Southern Africa, in partnership with APAF (Association for the Promotion of Agroforestry). The first project to see the light of day was the Yagma agroforestry garden in Burkina Faso, which transformed a desert wasteland on the outskirts of Ouagadougou into a veritable garden forest that has become a model for the neighbourhood.
In 2018, The Ivory Foundation launched a second collaboration with APAF on the outskirts of Mbour to develop an agroforestry seed farm in Diokhar, a project that was extended to three other sites in the following years.
This film presents the work of APAF in agroforestry in Burkina Faso. APAF is a pioneer of agroforestry in West Africa, with its knowledge of local fertile tree species helping to regenerate the soil, in association with organic market gardening, and without any pesticides or fertilisers.
In 2021, the Garden of Skills will benefit from this expertise, developing a 1 hectare agroforestry plot. In 2023, in partnership with the NGO Farming Our Future, The Ivory Foundation is developing a 3-hectare farm in Levi’s Nek, Lesotho, which will also incorporate the principles of agroforestry.