A Living Lab for Nature and People: Developing agroforestry with local producers in Nigeria
Developing agroforestry with local producers in Nigeria
This Living Lab is a two-year project which aims to put trees and their countless benefits back at the heart of farmers’ daily lives. The project aims to develop agroforestry in ten states in the north central region of Nigeria.
Project launch: 2021
Location: North central region of Nigeria
Objectives: Foster resilience of cashew farms and community livelihoods
Key activities: Tree planting / Agroforestry training / Environmental education programmes for local communities
Main species planted: Ficus (Ficus sp.), filao (Casuarina equisetifolia), cashew (Anacardium occidentale), papaya (Carica papaya), pomegranate (Punica granatum), Acacia (Acacia sp.)
Partners: Local communities, Reforest’Action, Pretaterra, Green Sahara Farms
Nigeria lost 60 million hectares of primary tropical forest during the 20th century, and continues to lose more than 5% of its forest area each year due to deforestation. This Living Lab will showcase how to restore degraded land using agroforestry systems that integrate trees around and within farmers’ fields.
The planted trees provide multiple ecosystem services, including the enrichment of cultivated soils and the provision of a protective canopy to the underlying crops. The benefits are also economic, with fruit trees enabling diversification of production and the generation of additional income through the sale of fruit on local markets. Ultimately, the integration of trees into agricultural plots will not only develop and sustain these new agroforestry systems, but also increase the productivity of their main crops, which will be sold to local agribusinesses for export or domestic use.
- Action on the ground
This Living Lab is a two-year project which aims to put trees and their countless benefits back at the heart of farmers’ daily lives. The project aims to develop agroforestry in ten states in the north central region of Nigeria. During the first year of the project, a total of 250,000 trees of 50 different species will be integrated into individual agricultural plots owned by 2,500 local farmers, a total area of 1,250 hectares.
- Developing agroforestry
The project will introduce and plant a multitude of tree species within and around cashew fields, providing a main crop of cashew nuts (which will be aggregated through Green Sahara Farms and sold to agro-industrial companies). This includes:
Fruit tree species, such as papaya, pomegranate, to provide a secondary crop of fruit for the farmer’s personal consumption or for sale in local markets.
Leguminous species, such as acacia, fix nitrogen and provide the nutrients necessary for soil fertilization, as well as fodder for livestock.
Tall tree species, such as ficus and filao, provide a protective forest cover over the food crops.
The interaction between the trees planted and the pre-existing agricultural crops will therefore improve agricultural production and gradually lead to an improvement in the living standards of the farmers.
- Integrating and training local communities
The project, in partnership with Green Sahara Farms, provides training and capacity building to local farmers in the application of agroforestry and in the management of their farming enterprises. They are also encouraged to adopt organic production and environmentally sustainable farming systems.
The project directly contributes to the achievement of 9 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, which provide a roadmap to a better and more sustainable future.
Achievements in 2021 & 2022
Until September 2022, a total of 1.5 million trees of different species have been planted and integrated within and around agricultural plots owned by 2,500 local farmers, covering a total area of 1,250 hectares. These include: Fruit tree species like papaya and pomegranate, to provide a secondary crop of fruit for the farmer’s personal consumption or for sale in local markets; leguminous species such as Acacia Senegal, to fix nitrogen and provide the nutrients necessary for soil fertilization, as well as fodder for livestock; tall tree species such as Ficus and filao, to provide a protective forest cover over the food crops.
We have provided training and capacity building to 2,567 farmers in the application of agroforestry and management of their farming enterprises. The farmers were also trained and encouraged to adopt organic production and environmentally sustainable farming systems. We also provided 50,000 tree seedlings to communities for planting. In addition, we conducted an awareness raising campaign on land degradation, restoration, and climate change with 24 schools, reaching an average of 1,800 persons per school.
We established a community tree nursery to produce quality planting materials of various trees species. This created an employment opportunity for women.
We have acquired 30,000 sqm of land on which we aim to set up a training facility and knowledge centre with the sole aim of training people of all ages on the benefits of environmental sustainability and the importance of transiting to a more sustainable circular bioeconomy. This centre will have model sites to display proofs of concepts.