Summary of a discussion: Agroforestry practices in Tanzania

| April 3, 2023

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Six radio stations in Tanzania have been working with Farm Radio International on programming related to agroecology. So we decided to invite an expert to our WhatsApp group for radio partners in Tanzania to discuss one agroecology practice that interests many in the group: agroforestry. The discussion was held from Jan. 23-27 with expert guest Daudi Ngosengwa Manongi from the Tanzania Alliance for Biodiversity / SWISSAID Tanzania.

An agroforestry system produces more food than systems that don’t incorporate vertical space. Agroforestry is about combining different types of plants that are compatible with each other and making the most efficient use of space. Think of a jungle: there are no patches of bare soil. Life abounds everywhere in abundant shapes and sizes.

In Tanzania, agroforestry is seeing good adoption rates and good results for farmers. In the Northern Highlands region, there are good harvests of timber, avocados, bananas, coffee, and other products, which are exported.

The discussion was guided to address two important questions relating to agroforestry.

Question 1: What are the qualities needed for trees to be incorporated in an agroforestry system?
Answer: The best trees to grow together with crops are those with deep roots so they do not compete with crops for water and nutrients. They should allow light through their leaves to allow crops to grow. They should survive regular pruning and cutting back.

Question 2: How to mix trees in agroforestry design?
Answer: Agroforestry Design for Regenerative Production is geared toward profitable agroforestry that creates regenerative outcomes: building soil, allowing water to infiltrate into the soil and retaining it, enhancing biodiversity, strengthening resiliency, and storing carbon.

For more information on trees and agroforestry, read our March theme pack:

You can also read our theme pack of resources on Farmer-managed natural regeneration: