In the tropics, a high level of sustainability is attributed to agroforestry systems. Agroforestry has underdeveloped potential to mitigate and to adapt to climate change, and thus is a promising approach for regenerative agriculture. We strive not only to better understand these complex systems, but also to refine them in a targeted manner.
Our main activities include:
- Comparing production systems - By conducting field trials in Latin America, Africa and Asia, we study the impacts of agroforestry systems on people and the environment. We analyse the economic and agronomic benefits and drawbacks, and the effects upon soil fertility, ecosystem services like biological diversity, energy use efficiency etc.
- Developing best practice - Together with our local partner organizations in the South, we develop and research novel agroforestry-related production techniques and plantation designs. Taking a participatory approach, we seek and test solutions to specific problems that will be viable in practice.
- Transferring and building knowledge - We share our knowledge by providing trainings and offering documentation materials designed for practitioners. We take care to involve in-country scientists, extensionists and students in our project work wherever possible, in order to build the maximum amount of local know how in a sustainable manner. For successful implementation, we support capacity and institutional building to help farmers develop and access key services, e.g. availability of seeds and seedlings for agroforestry systems, the commercialization of diverse agroforestry products, access to legal permits, organic certification, etc.
Cocoa is the most important crop addressed by our agroforestry work. Our agroforestry project in Bolivia is part of a larger programme, the Farming Systems Comparison in the Tropics.