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Improving sustainable productivity in farming systems and enhanced livelihoods through adoption of evergreen agriculture in eastern Africa shortened as ‘Trees for food security’ project (T4FS)

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The project “Improving Sustainable Productivity in Farming Systems and Enhanced Livelihoods through Adoption of Evergreen Agriculture in Eastern Africa (FSC/2012/014)” also known as the ‘Trees for Food Security’ (T4FS) commenced in June 2012 and was completed in November 2016. The aim was to enhance food security for resource-poor rural people in Eastern Africa through research that underpins national programmes to scale up the use of trees within farming systems in Ethiopia and Rwanda and then scale out successes to relevant agro-ecological zones in Uganda and Burundi. Project partners were ICRAF (lead institution) EIAR RAB NAFORRI ISABU CIMMYT CSIRO and WV and ILRI. Key achievements of the project include but not limited to: 1. Establishment of six Rural Resource Centers (RRCs) and nurseries - 2 each in Rwanda and Ethiopia and 1 each in Uganda and Burundi. The RRCs provided training and supply of improved tree germplasm and business opportunities for farmer groups and unemployed youth. This experience demonstrated the effectiveness of RRCs in empowering local communities enhancing knowledge about locally appropriate agroforestry systems and facilitating adoption and scaling up of agroforestry. 2. Improved understanding of the contexts and patterns of tree adoption on farm (Iiyama et al. 2016). This was critical in informing the design of agroforestry interventions thus enhancing their success adaptability acceptance and sustainability. The development of Potential Natural Vegetation Map of Eastern Africa integrating Burundi (not originally there) was an important milestone (van Breugel et al 2015). 3. Improved understanding of tree crop interactions in different species and contexts through establishment of four long-term tree diversity trials and controlled on farm experiments. Wheat yield increases was reported under Faidherbia albida (mean of 3.3t ha1 under compared to 2.6 tha-1 away) in Modjo Ethiopia (Sida et al. 2017 Assefa et al. 2016) translating to an additional 2.6 t per household with mean land size of 3.7 ha (Muthuri et al. 2017). This was attributed to microclimate effect reverse phenology available moisture and enhanced nutrients under the trees. The importance of tree management (shoot pruning) in reducing competition for water and enhancing maize productivity while providing firewood was demonstrated in Grevillea robusta maize systems in Bugesera Rwanda (Ngoga et al 2016). As a result of these benefits many farmers in this area are now pruning these trees to manage competition. 4. Enhanced tree crop modelling capability through development of APSIM crop modelling framework’s (APSIM X AF) (Luedeling et al. 2016). This allows reliable predictions of tree and crop yields essential for informing policy decisions relating to food security. At present model evaluation has been done using Grevillea robusta (Masikati et al 2017) Gliricidia sepium (Smethurst et al. 2017) and Faidherbia albida interacting with wheat and maize (Dila et al 2017). 5. Capacity development and strengthening through farmer training and support in MSc and PhD training. Twenty seven students 10 PhDs and 17 MSc have benefited from the project. 6. Improved extension systems diversified agroforestry technologies increased farm productivity and hence food security. For example the successful uptake of the best fit agroforestry technologies through the 1600 participatory trials (Ethiopia 650 Rwanda 700 and Uganda 250) demonstrated the importance of the participatory approach in scaling up trees on farm as well as increasing food security and livelihoods. For instance the use of green manure from trees and shrubs in participatory trials in Gishwati Rwanda resulted in increased maize potato and bean yields translating to an additional income of 1620 USD/year which is significant given the per capita income of USD 1343 in USD (Musana et al 2016 Muthuri et al. 2017). The project reached 30507 beneficiaries through participatory trials RRCs trainings and other country specific strategies (Muthuri et al. 2016b).

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