AGROFORESTRY & OUR MISSION IN AFRICA
Our mission is to be the best in the world in micro hydro electric and water resource management: by evolving innovative damless hydroelectric and water transfer technology. We create Today’s Tall Tree Nurseries to support Micro Finance for women farmers and their families using the Carbon Tax Fund, a new form of foreign aid. We export Mechanization into Africa for more productive agriculture in the form of Agroforestry.
Africa Agroforestry Problems
African agriculture is so heterogeneous that no leap forward in the farming of a single crop could transform it. The continent needs a dozen green revolutions.
The vast continent has 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land, most of it un-farmed. The land already under cultivation, mostly by small farmers, could produce far more. Crop yields in Africa are between one-third and one-half of the global average. The quality of soil is often poor, because of over-farming, but that could be fixed by fertilizers.
Sadly the global climate has worsened for farmers globally over the past few years and this has drastically affected the growth of crops.
It is no secret that the current El Niño phenomenon has caused drought in the global coffee-lands, particularly Central America, the Caribbean, and East Africa. Satellite-derived rainfall estimates indicate that the first half of the rainy season (June-August) was the driest in 35 years. The result is that many plants either die or on life support by the time the rains arrive the following season. Climatic conditions are now forcing farmers to break with tradition and search for alternatives to their crops.
Africa has suffered the biggest droughts in modern history. In 2011, the worst drought in 60 years triggered a hunger crisis in East Africa that impacted 13 million people and left an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 dead. The United Nations estimated the cost of the humanitarian response at $1.5 billion. That crisis happened not in the agricultural regions of sub-Saharan Africa but in the dry land regions of Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya.
Prior to the ‘Green Revolution’, the majority of subsistence farming anywhere in the world involved mixed species, usually including tree products. Pressures towards higher efficiency drove modern agriculture into mono cultures.
Africa’s population grew more steeply than India’s, and as a result production per person fell in much of the continent during the late 20th century. In the past decades, the African population has rocketed from 220 million in 1950 to appalling 1 billion in 2010.
Africa is also a continent full of chaos. This alone will definitely deter the growth of agriculture to a large extent. Corruption and instability means that Africa can’t build institutions to a decent standard compared to their potential competitors.
One-third to one-half of its harvests routinely going to waste. Establishing better storage systems that reduce crop mold and losses caused by weevil depredation, thus enabling farmers to keep their crops off the market until prices are high, is another primary goal.
Africans need the ability to store crops somewhere other than in their houses, where the weevils get them. Processing foods near farms would help reduce such waste and provide decent paying jobs.
Worldwide, about 124 kg of artificial fertilizer is used per hectare of farmland per year. Many would argue that this is too high. But the 15 kg per hectare in sub-Saharan Africa is definitely too low.
Africa still has a thin road network to bring fertilizer in and produce out of the rural agricultural area; in rural areas the roads are often primitive and impassable after a heavy shower. There are difficulties of moving fresh produce over long distances that makes intensification near the big markets particularly attractive. Sub-Saharan Africa’s farms remain far less productive than Latin American and Asian ones. The continent as a whole exports less farm produce than Thailand.
Most farms are forced to rely on humanitarian food aid, a short-term solution that saves lives but reinforces the cycle of poverty and dependency in the African dry lands.
Exported goods to other African countries faced average tariffs of 8.7%, compared with 2.5% for those that exported goods beyond Africa.
African cows are increasingly crossbred with European breeds to create tough animals that produce lots of milk. But animal vaccines remain expensive and are often unavailable, since they need to be kept cold.
What is Agroforestry in Africa?
Agroforestry can help to achieve climate change mitigation and adaptation while at the same time providing livelihoods for poor smallholder farmers in Africa. Continue reading What is Agroforestry in Africa? 2