| Agro-forestry in the African Humid Tropics (1982) |
|Considerations for the future development of agro-forestry|
Summary of discussion: Considerations for the future development of agro-forestry
In discussing the future of agro-forestry the supposed links between agro-forestry and poverty were mentioned. Contrary to what is often believed, those practicing agro-forestry are not necessarily resistant to modernization, nor are they limited to a life of bare subsistence. The case of the Kandy gardeners in Sri Lanka was cited as one example where a stable agro-forestry system can provide both subsistence needs and a substantial cash income. It is probably true that most of the people now practicing agro-forestry are in the lowest income brackets, but one can argue that for this reason alone there should be greater efforts to investigate the possibilities for improving yield. In many cases there simply may not be a feasible, sustainable alternative to agro-forestry.
The suggestion for "barefoot agro-foresters" to encourage agro-forestry practices was welcomed, but it was cautioned that they must have some training. In particular they would have to be familiar with the farming systems approach, even though their basic training might be only in agriculture or forestry.
A final comment was simply that there must be more exchange between the different regions within Africa. Each area has its own experience and its own crops, and much of this information could be of use in other areas. Given the tremendous lack of knowledge about agro-forestry, such an exchange could be considered essential for the understanding and development of agro-forestry.