Farmers use agroforestry practices to heal farmland damaged by deforestation and soil erosion

| April 27, 2020

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One of this week’s Farmer stories from Senegal highlights local communities’ efforts to combat deforestation. Our Script of the week focuses on a different way to address deforestation.

Small-scale farmers are often mere receivers of the bad results of other people’s careless actions. One example is when people cut trees in large quantities to supply fuelwood or charcoal to urban markets, or for other commercial purposes. When many trees are cut down, the rains may be affected and impact crop growth. Also, soil erosion can impact the amount of nutrients and water available to grow crops. These cause poor yields, which result in hunger and poverty for farmers.

This script tells the true story of a part of eastern Zambia that was once thickly forested and had rich soil, but which was later occupied by people interested only in using the forest to earn short-term income. Unfortunately, this led to the degradation of the forest to levels that led to desertification, poor crop yields, and hunger for the small-scale farmers in the area.

Luckily, the farmers decided to face this challenge by using agroforestry systems and practices to protect and improve their soils and landscape.

You might choose to present this script as part of your regular farming program, using voice actors to represent the speakers. If so, then please inform your audience that the actors are representing real people who use the practices they talk about.

You could also use this script as research material or as inspiration for creating your own programming on deforestation and degradation or related topics in your own country.

Talk to farmers and experts who are using some of the systems and practices mentioned in this script. Ask them:

  • How has land in your area been damaged or degraded? And what has been the impact on the local environment, and on farmers?
  • Have farmers taken steps to rehabilitate or restore the land? What have they done? Have they been successful?
  • Are there barriers to taking steps to revive the land? If so, what are they, and how can they be overcome?