Agroforestry crucial to ensure food security (UN News Centre)

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http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44071&Cr=food+security&Cr1=#.URLexMc1Gg0

Agroforestry crucial to ensure food security of millions, says UN agency

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today called on countries to boost efforts to promote agroforestry, a practice involving the combination of trees with crop or livestock production, stressing it can help millions of people escape poverty and prevent environmental degradation, making it crucial to ensure food security in the future.

“In many countries the potential of agroforestry to enrich farmers, communities and industry has not been fully exploited,” said FAO’s Director of Forest Assessment, Management and Conservation Division, Eduardo Mansur.

“Despite the numerous benefits of agroforestry, the sector is largely hampered by adverse policies, legal constraints and lack of coordination between the sectors to which it contributes, namely, agriculture, forestry, rural development, environment and trade.”

Agroforestry combines agricultural and forestry technologies to create more productive and sustainable systems for land use. According to FAO, the agroforestry sector is a significant source both of local commodities such as fuelwood, timber, fruit and fodder for livestock as well as global ones such as coconut, coffee, tea, rubber and gum.

In a new guide aimed at decision-makers, non-governmental organizations and governmental institutions, FAO shows how agroforestry can be integrated into national strategies and how policies can be adjusted to specific conditions.

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About Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.
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