Tuesday, 24 November 2015

The right tree for the right place

On 11 November 2015, the Australian High Commissioner to Kenya, HE John Feakes, visited the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) campus in Nairobi.

He used this opportunity to learn more about the projects implemented by ICRAF for ACIAR in Africa and elsewhere in the world. Of note are the two projects, “Trees for Food Security,” and “Value Chains for Innovation Platforms,” that are implemented in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Zambia.

Dr Aster Gebrekirstos explains to HE John Feakes the activities carried out in the Dendrochronology (Tree Ring) lab. Aster is a climate scientist (Source: ICRAF)

The Trees for Food Security project, underpins the message of planting “the right tree for the right place” and this project has been active since 2012. The project is supported with activities from national agricultural and forestry institutes in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi and has already established rural resource centres where the farmers are trained in grafting and nursery establishment. Farmers are already enjoying the benefits of diversifying varieties and they are choosing to plant trees that go beyond food, into fuel, fodder and fertilizer. The project has led to the implementation of a new project in 2015 in Uganda and Zambia that will use collective action to help farmers enter and play a role in tree value chains for income and nutrition.

John was also briefed on projects in Southeast Asia and Nepal, which are implemented in partnership with the University of Adelaide. ICRAF staff were keen to stress their interest and experience in working with the private sector and their willingness to support the Landcare International movement to regenerate forests and build a culture of intercropping with trees to restore degraded lands.

To support the presentations, ICRAF scientists and technicians took John for a tour of the labs, including the Tree Ring lab, the Soil lab, the soil and plant lab, the seed lab and the African Consortium lab. John was able to appreciate the extent of research that ICRAF undertakes at their labs, as well as in the field, for the benefit of small-scale farmers and to support the development of rural economies in Africa.

He was then invited to plant a tree, the Grevillia Robusta (Australian Silver oak).

HE John Feakes plants the Grevillia Robusta at the ICRAF campus. Immediately behind him is the DG ICRAF, Dr Tony Simons (Source: ICRAF)

By Liz Ogutu, Regional Manager Africa, ACIAR 

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