The Chief Executive Officer of EcoAgriculture Partners, Dr Sara Scherr, has claimed that agroforestry has the potential to improve food production, grass for livestock, and forest products as well as creating a comfortable habitat for wildlife.

Dr Scherr, an agricultural and natural resource economist specialising in land management policy in tropical developing countries, said that the best way to ensure efficient land use is to generate it for different functions.

At the recent Forest and Landscape Investment Forum in Kigali, Dr Scherr suggested that agroforestry could help to solve certain issues such as food production to help support the growing population. The number of people on earth is expected to rise to 9.3 billion by 2050, meaning the demand for food will have to increase by over 60%.

“The beauty of agroforestry is that you have a small way of mixing animal crops, grass, shrubs, short trees, tall trees, timber trees, fruit trees, fodder trees and you can mix them with food crops… and you are also provide much more comfortable habitat for many kinds of wildlife than you do on monoculture agricultural system. That is why agroforestry is so wonderful,” Dr Scherr said.

She said that the system is much more sustainable on slopes, reduces the need for soil conservation structures and gives financial value to the conservation structures.

She highlighted Rwanda as a great example of agroforestry in action.

According to Rwanda State of Environment and Outlook Report of 2015, 29.2 per cent of Rwanda’s territory was covered in forest, and their goal is to increase this to 30 per cent by 2020.

“Given its high population density and the significance of agriculture to the economy, agroforestry represents the most important and wide-reaching restoration opportunity,” states the report by REMA.

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