Multipurpose trees for smallholders

Photo credit: Africa Rising

Winnie Saigodi has planted Gliricidia sepium and Grevillea robusta trees as shelter belts in her farm (Photo credit: IITA/Jonathan Odhong’)

Barking up the right tree: Multipurpose trees help Tanzania smallholders build a resilient farming system


Winnie Saigodi, a mother of five, from Moleti village in Kongwa District, Tanzania, had long given up on ever harvesting any meaningful produce from her one acre farm.

‘I completely lost hope because for five years, I hardly harvested anything from the farm despite cultivating different crops. Nothing grew well and soil erosion was also a major problem,’ Saidogi says. She eventually left the land fallow until researchers from the World Agroforesty Centre (ICRAF)  working with the Africa RISING project visited her and asked to use part of her farm for research trials on growing multipurpose Gliricidia (Gliricidia sepium) trees, which can be grown for fodder, wood supply, wind erosion control and soil fertility improvement.

She readily accepted because she had nothing to lose. Two years after the research and demonstration trials started, her opinion about the productivity of her land has completely changed.

What she has seen has convinced her that she and other smallholder farmers in Tanzania’s soil erosion battered districts of Kongwa and Kiteto can still get good harvests from their farms and turn around their fortunes.


Read the full article: Africa Rising

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

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

%d bloggers like this: