08.01.2018, Naturefund

The agroforestry congress in Arani

Durring the congress
Photo: ECOSAF

At the end of November the agroforestry congress took place in Arani, Bolivia. Thanks to generous donors, 25 small farmers were able to participate and to further study the dynamic agroforestry.

The dynamic agroforestry

Dynamic agroforestry is a reforestation and cultivation method that results in reforestation and increased yields in a short time. The method uses and reinforces natural principles and can be applied anywhere on almost any soil.

As part of afforestation projects, Naturefund works closely with partner organizations and local families to spread this sustainable cultivation method. Many farmers are excited and want to learn this method. Thanks to generous donors, 25 small farmers were given the opportunity to participate in the congress, sharing their experiences and participating in many training courses.

Pretty busy in Arani

On 17./18. November 2017, the fifth National Agroforestry Congress took place in Bolivia. Around 200 people from all over the country came to Arani. However, international events are not commonplace in the rural village. ECOSAF, Naturefund's local partner organization, deliberately does not focus on luxury furnishings or prestige at the Agroforestry Congress. Shirt and tie are therefore not out of place but also not a must for the participants.

The idea of ​​the congress is not just the presentation of the latest academic knowledge in agroforestry. ECOSAF has set itself the goal of sharing the latest knowledge with farmers and encouraging their implementation in practice. At the same time, the exchange of difficulties and observations of a practical nature should stimulate new research. Thus, the cooperation of universities, farmers, and other involved public and private institutions is promoted.

The participants report

Nora feels "better identified" on the boy scout site in Arani than in formal university buildings. "This helps me to participate actively and express my ideas and thoughts," said the participant from La Paz that can participate in the Congress thanks to scholarships from Naturefund and presented their experiences from a project in Aramasi, Tapacari. The project is visited by many farmers who would like to switch to dynamic agroforestry and is very rich in practical experience with farming families. An important contribution for the congress.

The sequence

On the first day, various scientific papers and practical experiences from Bolivia will be presented. Both recent economic success with cocoa or walnut, as well as work on adapting to climate change, food security, soil fertility and ecological pest control are discussed in groups and inspire the development of new ideas, projects and solutions. The second day starts with an insight into current research topics from Costa Rica. Afterwards the participants will visit agroforest parcels of farmers from Arani.

Arani is not yet known for large or successful projects in agroforestry. However, as the participants were able to observe and experience the local climatic conditions the day before, they are impressed by the results in the still young plots. Strong winds set in just before noon and did last until late in the evening. Together with the strong sunshine, the heat in the afternoon and the current drought period, these are extremely difficult conditions for agriculture.

Great demand

No wonder Serafin Vidal already been given on his nearly 500 m2 large plot a few days after the Congress several requests for further visits, where he grows 71 different kinds vegetables, fruits, cereals, spices, medicinal herbs, flowers and forestry trees. The organic apple plant, which, despite great success and multiple awards for the best apples in the region, converts the production to an agroforestry system in order to secure the quality in the long term, arouses the interest of the participants. The participants are also impressed by the still very young parcel, which has not completely stopped production despite very limited water availability and several losses due to frost and hail. Soil fertility and the diversity of crops help to cushion the various damages and restrictions, reduce the loss and promote a rapid recovery of the plants.

Great success

In summary, it can be said that at the 5th National Agroforestry Congress in Bolivia the exchange between distinguished scientists and farmers took place on an equal footing. Scientific and practical findings could be complemented each other. Many participants return to their workplaces with new ideas, new motivation and inspiration to further develop the agroforestry with its many aspects and to spread the sustainable way of production.

 

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