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Agro forestry Project

 

  1. Production Description: Agro forestry is a farming system or land use system that integrates crop and /or livestock with trees and shrubs. The resulting biological interactions provide multiple benefits, including diversified income sources, increased biological production, and better water quality, improved habitat for both human and wildlife. Farmers adopt Agro forestry practices for two reasons. They want to increase their economic stability and want to improve the management of natural resources under their care. The components of agro forestry practices and the resultant benefits / product depend on specific agro ecological areas where the practices take place. An agro forestry system might produce firewood, biomass feed stock, fodder for grazing animals, producing mushrooms beekeeping etc together with crop production such as maize, wheat soybeans, haricot beans etc can be cited a examples of the component products.
  1. Rationale: Natural resources in the Amhara Region have been subject t degradation for centuries; more seriously in the highland areas. The highland of the region, characterized b rugged and undulating terrain with easily erodible soils and low natural vegetation cover is highly exposed to land degradation.  Soils in the highlands of the region have lost their productive capacity. On the other hand population pressure in these areas has pushed farmers to fragile and hilly areas. Hence land degradation has become a serious threat to agricultural productivity; Soil erosion as a result of seasonal intense rainfall is decreasing soil depth, water holding capacity and fertility and increasing the frequency of drought in the marginal areas. Deforestation has taken place at an alarming rate. Fuel wood is a critical problem for most rural households; forcing them to use dung, weeds and crop residues. These have further worsened the soil fertility and organic matter base.

Erosion and runoff form overexploited and fragile areas are particularly critical in highland areas watersheds. Originate land mismanagement in the highlands has adverse effects on both and lowland agroecologicla systems. Therefore, there is an urgent need for an agro ecologically and socio economically sustainable and viable farming or land use. System; that is, agro forestry practice.

  1. Market potentials: Agro forestry systems are much more complex than single purpose farm or forestry enterprises. Products from each component of the system will require specific markets. Therefore, selecting the components of ago forestry systems must be on the basis of careful marketing plan. The demand for fuel wood, house construction by the rural households and rural towns is a great potential to be considered. Demand for timber, log and pulpwood by local household manufacturing industries is also very high. For most of forestry products, the markets must be close to the site. Otherwise the transportation costs will eat up the potential profit.

 

  1. Sources of Raw Materials: Seedlings of various trees and shrubs species are the basic raw materials required which must be multiplied or raised b the regional bureau of agriculture. Fertilizers may be required in the early stages of the seed lines which are also available in the region.

 

  1. Agro forestry production practices: Alley cropping involves growing crops (grains, forges, vegetables) between fruit trees, palm trees, or wood tree species planted in rows. The spacing between the rows is designed to accommodate the mature size of trees while leaving room for the planned alley crops. When sun-loving plants like corn, soybeans wheat or herbs will be alley cropped, the alleyways need to be wide enough to let in plenty of height even the trees have matured.

 

Another practice of agro forestry is called silvopature where tree and pasture crops and grown in combination. Hardwoods, nut trees and pines are planted in multiple rows, and livestock grazing between them. In early years of (trees) establishment, crops or hay are harvested from the planting. Grazing begins after two or three years, when the trees re large enough so that the livestock can't damage them. Well-managed grazing will increase organic matter and improve soil conditions.


Windbreaks or shelterbelts are also practices of agro forestry. Tree species (for various land use) and planted in multiple rows along the edge of a field to reduce wind effects on crops or livestock. In this practice wind and water erosions re reduced, crating  moist, more favorable microclimate for the crop this, beneficial insects find permanent habitat in windbreaks, benefit wildlife by providing shelters and safe movements. Windbreak or shelterbelts can also generate income by selective timber harvest, fruit harvest, firewood sales etc.

 

Other practices of agro forestry may include home garden of fruit trees, inter planting firewood species on coop land, agriculture with honey producing trees, multipurpose trees on bunds or terraces for soil conservation etc. All these practices of agroforetry will establish sustainable agricultural production and the interaction of the components of agro forestry systems will increase production better than the single component practices.

  1. Cost Estimate: Compared to annual crops, agro forestry practices are relatively complex and relatively a new system. Data on cost structures and estimate are not readily available. Therefore, types and quantities of inputs required such as labor family or hired valued at market or shadow price, economic value of land, material inputs such as planting materials fertilizers, chemicals, water, tools valued at their market process and capital goods purchase should be further surveyed and proper cost estimates have to be established.

 

  1. Benefits to the Regional Economy: Agro forestry practices established sustainable and environmental friendly production systems. The biological interaction of agro forestry components gives higher production or biomass per unit of area than any single component production system. This is because the system (agro forestry) improves soil fertility soil porosity, aeration, and controls soil erosion by providing ground cover, exploit more soil volume, and regulate microclimate. It also provides year long employment opportunity and diversified income.

 

  1. Location:- Agro forestry production and land use system could be started in highland areas of the regions where soil erosion. Land degradation and drought are serous threat to agricultural development of region. As the benefit of the systems is realized it could be expand to the medium and lowland areas of the region.
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