The project’s GOAL is to increase income of rural households and have measurable impact on farmers’ livelihoods through the uptake of participatory tree domestication in West and Central Africa.
Investment in agriculture generates economic growth that reduces poverty
Nearly half of the people in Africa South of the Sahara live in absolute poverty with incomes less than a dollar a day. Cameroon, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, countries targeted by this project, are amongst the poorest in the world, ranking 144, 159 and 167 out of 177. Today, climate change and high cost of food and energy are compounding the challenges these people face every day in trying to make a living.
Boosting smallholder agriculture however will necessitate action to empower rural people and enable them to access technical and commercial information and skills, inputs, financial services and markets. Participatory tree domestication can address the full range of development issues and stakes at village level.
1. Promote tree domestication in a broadened scope which encourages rural innovation. In continuing to disseminate and back-up tree domestication processes at grassroots level, the project will help stakeholders (and especially the poor) become agents of change in their environment 2. Enable rural actors to adapt and disseminate tree domestication to improve farmers’ livelihoods. This entails the development of knowledge-based networks or partnerships for learning and institutional and organisational reinforcement. 3. Effectively communicate the contribution of tree domestication to poverty alleviation. The communication strategy will continue to target bi- and multilateral institutions, civil society, government structures at local, national and international levels. The strategy will inform and also show how to transform tree domestication as a technical entry point into an effective mechanism to neutralise poverty-generating processes. 4. Design and implement a systematic change-sensitive monitoring strategy, which will not only track technical progress, but also socio-organisational impacts, as defined by the beneficiaries themselves.
Enhancing the uptake of tree domestication
Accelerating adoption of tree domestication will require the following conditions: 1. Ensure availability of tree planting material of suitable quality, in sufficient quantities within proximity and at affordable prices. 2. Disseminate relevant information and knowledge on techniques, markets and services, to guide decision making. 3. Strengthen human capacities to generate and use the knowledge and skills. 4. Build linkages and identify incentives and other measures to develop individuals and local institutions. 5. Actively seek policy support to scale-up tree domestication.
Henceforth, tree domestication resource centres (TDRC), as focal points for propagation of tree planting material, as well as for information gathering and sharing, will be used to diffuse tree domestication technologies. The TDRCs will be run by local champions, who may be individuals or grassroots organisations. Members of these organisations will be trained as resource persons, who will then disseminate the technologies to farmers in their communities and beyond.
Working with Actors in Rural Development
A variety of actors will come into play:
Agricultural Innovation Systems (Research, Extension & Education)
Non-Governmental Organisations and Community-Based Organisations
Farmers and farmer associations
Agroforestry product traders and processing enterprises
IFAD loan projects in the project countries, such as the Roots & Tubers Programme (PNDRT) in Cameroon and Revitalising Agriculture in Equateur (PRAPE) in DRC, will be targeted with our communication strategy, since they are future vehicles for technology dissemination.
Promoting Rural Changes
The expected results of this project are:
50 tree domestication resource centres supported and affiliated farmer experimentation groups established
improved tree planting material of high-value tree species produced in at least 500 small-scale nurseries
Tree integration models and guidelines & training manuals developed
Market information system operational for at least 1 product per country
Business agreements signed for at least 1 product per country
At least 3 groups per country market their products collectively and receive higher prices
Policy briefs, synthesis papers and technical advisory notes on key factors contributing to accelerated adoption developed.