The role of agroforestry in the future of Myanmar


Photo credit: Agroforestry World

Agroforestry has a long history in Myanmar but capacity of farmers and government agencies needs building in order to maximise potential. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/Robert Finlayson

A new hope for agroforestry in Myanmar

The Government of Myanmar is enthusiastic about the role of agroforestry in the future of the newly-democratic nation


Myanmar (formerly Burma) is a newly democratic country. Centuries before, this country was rich in culture, natural resources and competent citizens, the latter likely influenced by the colonial government of Britain. Visiting the former capital, Yangon, in the rainy season gives you a sense of how green the city is, with the intense monsoon rains making you appreciate why the citizens wear sandals.

After decades of military rule, everything seemed to be possible when the country held a general election in 2015. Its citizens, especially the younger generation, seemed to beam with hope for a bright and prosperous future, as the country had been economically far behind neighbouring Southeast Asian countries. Being sandwiched between the two giants of Asia—China and India—can, in my opinion, be both a blessing and a curse, as the country wants to stand on its own feet but still relies heavily on foreign investment.

The former military government forced universities to be scattered all over the country to prevent students from staging protests in the former capital. About 30 minutes from the current capital, Nay Pyi Daw, more than 370 km north of Yangon, there are three universities: Yezin Agricultural University; Yezin University of Forestry; and the University of Veterinary Science, Yezin. The current political situation should allow clever minds in these universities to blossom and help steer the country in the right direction.

Read the full article: Agroforestry World

Assumptions about the role of industrial plantations in Borneo forest loss


Photo credit: CIFOR   

Degraded land in Tebo in East Kalimantan alternates between bare earth and tree stumps. David Gaveau/CIFOR

Delving into drivers of deforestation

New study analyzes four decades of satellite images – overturning assumptions about the role of industrial plantations in Borneo forest loss

Debates over forest loss in Borneo generally focus on the extent to which industrial plantations are to blame: those on the conservation side charge oil palm and pulp and paper for the destruction of tropical rainforest, those on the plantation side tend to argue that planting is done on already deforested land.

Until now, both sides have lacked clear evidence to justify their claims.

“The story is complex, drivers of deforestation are many. Until now we lacked information to distinguish so-called good and bad plantations,” said Douglas Sheil of the Norwegian University of Life Science.

Read the full story: CIFOR




Agriculture, food and nutrition for Africa (FAO 1997)

Posted by Prof. Dr. Willem VAN COTTHEM

Ghent University – Belgium

Having participated in all the meetings of the INCD (1992-1994) and all the meetings of the UNCCD-COP, the CST and the CRIC in 1994-2006, I had an opportunity to collect a lot of interesting books and publications on drought and desertification published in that period.

Book Nr. 36

Please click:

or see agriculture-food-and-nutrition-for-africa-fao-1997





Prospects of Saline Agriculture in the Arabian Peninsula (2004)

Posted by Prof. Dr. Willem VAN COTTHEM

Ghent University – Belgium

Having participated in all the meetings of the INCD (1992-1994) and all the meetings of the UNCCD-COP, the CST and the CRIC in 1994-2006, I had an opportunity to collect a lot of interesting books and publications on drought and desertification published in that period.

Book Nr. 35

Please click:

or see prospects-of-saline-agriculture-in-the-arabian-peninsula-2004

Smallholder farmers and sustainable agricultural technologies



Boost for Africa’s smallholder farmers’ access to sustainable agricultural technologies as USAID announces $ 50 million Africa RISING Phase 2


The U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Bureau for Food Security in Washington DC has announced funding for a second 5-year phase of the Africa Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation (Africa RISING) program beginning October 2016. Funded through the agency’s Feed the Future initiative the second phase of Africa RISING will focus on ensuring farming communities within target feed the future zones of influence in Ethiopia, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Ghana and Mali get access to the best-bet/best-fit improved farming practices identified by the project’s research team during the first phase of the project.

“Farmers need access to improved agricultural technologies that have gone through an iterative research process to establish suitability and quality if they are to sustainably optimize the productivity of their farms in a way that lets them benefit from existing and future markets and add value to their crops and herds. This is the goal we aim to achieve through programs like Africa RISING that will now in this new phase have significant focus on ensuring farmers get their hands on improved technologies that have gone through this process,” said Jerry Glover, the USAID Bureau for Food Security’s Senior Sustainable Agriculture Advisor.

The goal of the Africa RISING program is to create opportunities for smallholder  farm households to move out of hunger and poverty through sustainably intensified farming systems that improve food, nutrition, and income security, particularly for women and children, and conserve or enhance the natural resource base. The program which brings together over 100 research and development organizations teaming up to achieve this goal is led by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (in West Africa and East and Southern Africa) and the International Livestock Research Institute (in the Ethiopian Highlands). The International Food Policy Research Institute leads the evaluation and impact assessment.

Read the full article: Africa Rising

Fostering food and nutrition security is key to sustainable development



Food and nutrition security key to Africa’s development

by Gilbert Nakweya bb9e69386f2d71ee1687c3e38927b131

Fostering food and nutrition security is key to sustainable development. But access to high quality seeds from research and development by smallholder farmers is still a major challenge to agricultural productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In fact, the second goal in the UN’s Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development Goal is to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

But how much is Africa investing to improve food security? Is Africa committed to taking leadership in building resilient seed sector for improved food security? Th

Africa requires a continental effort in development of sustainable seed sector through leadership.

Gilbert Nakweya

ese were some of the issues I pondered over during the Integrated Seed Sector Development (ISSD) Africa Synthesis Conference in Kenya this week (19-20 September). The conference drew agricultural experts from all over the world to discuss the findings of ISSD Africa’s two year pilot project that ends this year.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

Four different plant species planted together for optimal crop and soil performance.


Photo credit: Science Daily

Chris Pelzer, Ann Bybee-Finley, and Casey McManus (L-R) clean up the edges of a cowpea plot about 30 days after planting the first field site for the experiment. Four different plant species are planted together in a team effort to diversify and add nutrients to the soil.
Credit: Sustainable Cropping Systems Lab

Intercropping: Intersection of soil health, production

Cornell University.

September 21, 2016
American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA)
Plant diversity in intercropping leads to more diversity below ground too. Researchers are working to find the right combination for optimal crop and soil performance.

Read the full article: Science Daily