Agroforestry is a key climate solution with huge potential to simultaneously improve food security and nutrition and alleviate poverty, while halting deforestation, conserving biodiversity, building resilience, and helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) QU Dongyu said. Source: Timberbiz
He delivered his opening remarks at a special joint event of the FAO’s Committee on Forestry (COFO) and the Committee on Agriculture (COAG) on Agriculture-Forestry Linkages. The event entitled “Scaling up agroforestry” took place on the sidelines of the 174th Session of FAO Council (4-8 December 2023).
In his address, the Director-General highlighted the need for scaling up agroforestry and its numerous environmental and socio-economic benefits, noting that it will require concerted efforts to foster greater collaboration and knowledge-sharing between forestry and agriculture sectors.
According to the FAO’s State of the World’s Forests report in 2022, agroforestry can help restore over one billion hectares of degraded agricultural land, to increase soil fertility and agricultural productivity, while enriching ecosystem services and livelihoods.
The Director-General also emphasized agroforestry’s vital importance for millions of smallholder farmers whose livelihoods depend on it. He also noted that it was paramount to create enabling environment to attract investors to help smallholder farmers apply innovative approaches.
“Farmers need access to training, technology, markets, and financial support to adopt agroforestry practices effectively,” the Director-General said.
To this end, Qu underscored the need for increased research and innovation which will improve our understanding of agroforestry systems and their benefits along the value chain and make it an attractive integrated business model for investment.
The Director-General called on all relevant partners to work together to develop appropriate policies and practices. FAO is committed to support sustainable transitions to agroforestry in ways that meet the needs of smallholder farmers and transform agrifood systems for the better.
Other participants included Julie Emond, Chairperson of COAG (Canada); Guenter Walkner, Chairperson of COFO (Austria); and Michael Taylor, award-winning silvopastoral farmer (Australia).
The participants highlighted the potential of agroforestry as a cross-cutting solution to sustainably transform agrifood systems to be more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable. The event showcased FAO’s work on agroforestry to members, national experiences from members and discussed ways forward for addressing the remaining barriers to agroforestry uptake.