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Nairobi, 24 August 2009


2nd World Congress of Agroforestry Nairobi, 24 August 2009 Agroforestry for an Ever-green Revolution Prof M.S. Swaminathan, FRS UNESCO Chair in Ecotechnology – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Nairobi, 24 August 2009

2nd World Congress of Agroforestry
Nairobi, 24 August 2009
Agroforestry for an Ever-green Revolution
Prof M.S. Swaminathan, FRS UNESCO Chair in
Ecotechnology M S Swaminathan Research
Foundation, Chennai, India
Green Revolution Symphony (1968)
Major Components
  • Technology
  • Services
  • Public Policies
  • Farmers enthusiasm

Indian farmers achieved as much progress in wheat
production in four years (196468), as during
the preceding 4000 years.
Assured and remunerative market is the prime
mover of farmers enthusiasm
Sustainable Food Production Early Warning
Intensive cultivation of land without
conservation of soil fertility and soil
structure would lead ultimately to the
springing up of deserts. Irrigation without
arrangements for drainage would result in
soils getting alkaline or saline. Indiscriminate
use of pesticides, fungicides and
herbicides could cause adverse changes in
biological balance as well as lead to an
increase in the incidence of cancer and
other diseases, through the toxic residues
present in the grains or other edible
parts. Unscientific tapping of underground
water would lead to the rapid exhaustion
of this wonderful capital resource left to
us through ages of natural farming. The
rapid replacement of numerous locally
adapted varieties with one or two high
yielding strains in large contiguous areas
would result in the spread of serious
diseases capable of wiping out entire
crops, as happened prior to the Irish
potato famine of 1845 and the Bengal rice
famine of 1942. Therefore, the initiation
of exploitative agriculture without a proper
understanding of the various consequences
of every one of the changes introduced
into traditional agriculture and without
first building up a proper scientific and
training base to sustain it, may only lead
us into an era of agricultural disaster in
the long run, rather than to an era of
agricultural prosperity.
M.S. Swaminathan Indian Science Congress,
Varanasi, January 4, 1968
Need for an Ever-green Revolution
About 80 of food production comes from farmers
with small holdings. For them, Agriculture is the
backbone of the livelihood security system Hence,
higher productivity per units of arable land and
irrigation water is essential to enhance
marketable surplus and thereby of cash income.
This should however be achieved without harm to
the ecological foundations essential for
sustainable agriculture. The green revolution
should become an ever-green revolution leading to
an enhancement in productivity in perpetuity
without ecological harm
Swaminathan, 1982
From Green to an Ever-green Revolution
Theme for the 50th Anniversary Meeting of the
Crop Science Society of America
From Green to an Ever-green Revolution Pathways
If farm ecology and economics go wrong, nothing
else will go right
Climate Change LAquilla G 8 Summit (July
2009) Implications of Agreement to permit rise in
Mean Temperature by 2 deg C
Risks rise rapidly with temperature. Once
temperature increase rises about 2 deg C, upto 4
billion people could be experiencing growing
water shortages. Agriculture could cease to be
viable in parts of the world, particularly in the
tropics, and millions more people will be at risk
of hunger. Above 2 deg C, the risk of a
disintegration of the West Antarctic ice sheet
rises significantly, as does the greater danger
of tipping points for soil carbon release and
the collapse of the amazon rainforest.
Impact of higher temperature on Agriculture
  • Water scarcity and frequency of drought will
  • Rise in temperature could increase the risk of
    heat or drought stress to crops and livestock
  • Length of the growing period (LGP) is likely to
  • Physiological development is accelerated which
    hastens maturation and reduces yields
  • Increased night-time respiration reduces
    potential yield

Some Recent Reports on unleashing Africas
agricultural potential
Africas Ever-green Revolution
  • Unlike Asia, Africa does not have a dominant
    farming system on which food security largely
  • Out of the 17 distinct farming systems identified
    in different parts of Africa, the following four
    systems offer immediate promise
  • Agro-forestry system involving cocoa, coffee, oil
    palm, rubber, yams, maize and fertilizer trees
  • Maize-based system involving maize, cotton,
    cattle, goats and poultry
  • Cereal-root crop mixed farming system based
    primarily on maize, sorghum, millet, cassava,
    yams, legumes and cattle.
  • Irrigated farming system based primarily on rice,
    cotton, vegetables, cattle and poultry

All these systems provide opportunities for
additional non-farm employment
Learning from Successes S T Bright Spots
  • Soil fertility replenishment through nitrogen
    fixing shrubs, trees and rock phosphate
  • Biological control of cassava mealy bug
  • Banana tissue culture
  • New Rices for Africa (NERICA)
  • Agroforestry systems based on Faidherbia albida

Overcoming Soil Hunger
An approach that makes it possible for farmers to
produce most of the nitrogen that crops need is
through fertilizer trees in the field
manufacturing nitrogen and cycling P and K with
no cash investment.
Photo-insensitive Mutant of Sesbania rostrata
Fixes nitrogen both in stem and roots
Conservation Agriculture with Faidherbia albida
Pathway to Sustainable Maize Production in
Central and Southern Africa
Faidherbia is indigenous in many African
60 years of research shows on each hectare,
mature trees supply the equivalent of 300kg of
complete fertilizer and 250kg of lime. This can
sustain a maize yield of 4 tons/ha
Comparison of maize and other crops grown under
and outside the canopy of Faidherbia in Zambia.
Note the dramatic difference in maize growth,
February 2009
Mango - Wheat
Impact of Fertilizer Tree based Agroforestry
Source Malawi, WAgFor
Gene Banks for a Warming Planet
Community Gene Seed Banks
National Gene Bank
Svalbard (North Pole) Global Seed Vault
Conservation continuum
Enhancing the Coping Capacity of Local Communities
Conservation - Cultivation Consumption -
Water Bank
Gene Bank
Seed Bank
Grain Bank
Local level Food and Water Security
  • 19 varieties of Yam in 4 species were in
    Cultivation (as of 2006) but less than 5 in rural
    market and none in urban market
  • Dioscorea alata
  • Inchikachil I II
  • Kuzhikavithu I
  • Kuzhikavithu II
  • Quintalkachil I
  • Quintalkachil II
  • Anakomban
  • Kaduvakkayyan
  • Urulan kachil
  • Kuppathottikizhangu
  • Elivalankachil
  • Neendi/Veetukizhangu
  • Vella kachil I II
  • Chorakachil/cherakachil/chuvappukachil/ Neela
    kachil I, II III
  • Dioscorea esculenta
  • 14. Nanakizhangu
  • 15. Vella Enchi kachil
  • 16. Mullan Kachil

Life Saving Crops
Converting Biodiversity Hot Spots into Happy
Spots Role of Agroforestry based Biovalley
The goal of the Biovalley is to promote
biohappiness through integrated attention to the
conservation, sustainable use and equitable
sharing of the bioresources of the area leading
to health, work and income security. Conservation
Farming will include steps for soil health
enhancement, harvesting and efficient use of rain
water and saving and using plants for saving
lives and strengthening livelihoods.
A good example Rift Valley
Biovalley is to Biotechnology (BT), what Silicon
Valley is to Information Technology (IT)
Agroforestry based Sea Water Farming
Sea Water 97 of Global Water Pool Agriculture
Consumes over 80 of fresh water
  • Components of Action Plan
  • Mixed cropping of Mangroves, Salicornia and
  • Sustainable capture fisheries
  • Low external input sustainable aquaculture
    (shrimp farming)
  • Market driven off-farm enterprises to improve the
    population supporting capacity of the ecosystem.

Integrated Sea Water Farming (Agro-Aqua Farms)
  • Cultivation of halophytes (Mangroves, Salicornia,
    Atriplex, etc)
  • Meeting the wood needs of the local community
    through bamboo, casuarina, etc.
  • Culture of prawns, shrimps, crabs etc, in the
    canals between tree species using low external
    input sustainable aquaculture (LEISA) techniques

Integrated Sea Water Farming (Agro-Aqua Farms)
  • Rehabilitation of degraded mangrove and other
    coastal ecosystems through Coastal Rehabilitation
    Self-help Groups
  • Establishment of artificial coral reefs where
  • Fostering the growth of coastal biovillages for
    the generation of new livelihood opportunities
    based on the sustainable use of natural resources
    and application of appropriate technologies

Mangroves Useful Sources of Genes for Salinity
8.3 tC/ha from atmosphere
12.7 t/ha biomass (dry) (5.0 tC/ha)
11.0 t/ha biomass (dry) (3.3 tC/ha)
Mangrove Carbon Fixation at One Year
The Seawater Forests Initiative
Field trial of a transgenic rice strain with
Superoxide dismutase gene from Avicennia marina
The loss of every species and gene limits our
options for the future
 Gene Deployment for Drought Tolerance
Prosopis juliflora has wide adaptation to water
stress and drought conditions Used as source
material for drought tolerant genes
36 days of water withdrawal
Sea Water Farming
Outer bund
View of the Integrated Seawater farm near
Inner bund
Mangrove plantation
Grow out area For fish, crab
Agroforestry as a Strategy to Climate Change
  • Adaptation capabilities of agroforestry
  • Drought Tree components through their deep roots
    explore a large soil volume of water and
    nutrients which help to maintain production
    during drought seasons
  • High rainfall Pumping excess water out of the
    soil profile more rapidly by higher
    evapo-transpiration and maintain aerated soil
  • Temperature Increased soil cover and multi
    strata cropping pattern system utilize the light
    resource efficiently and guard the soil from
    direct sunlight which lead to a reduction in soil

Carbon sequestration Option for Climate Change
  • Agroforestry system recognized as a carbon
    sequestration strategy because of its
    applicability in agricultural lands as well as in
    reforestation programs
  • Agroforestry offers the highest potential for
    carbon sequestration
  • Direct role Carbon sequestration rates ranging
    from1.5 to 3.5 Mg C ha-1 yr-1 in agroforestry
  • Indirect role Agroforestry has also some
    indirect effects on C sequestration since it
    helps to reduce pressure on natural forests

Carbon sequestration potential of four land use
systems (Adapted from IPCC, 2000)
Agroforestry has such a high potential, not
because it is the land use practice with the
highest carbon density, but because there is such
a large area that is susceptible for the land use
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Transforming Lives and Landscapes Global Research
  • Domestication, utilization and conservation of
    superior agroforestry germplasm
  • Maximising on-farm productivity of trees and
    agroforestry systems
  • Improving tree product marketing for smallholders
  • Reducing risks to land health and targeting
    agroforestry interventions to enhance land
    productivity and food availability
  • Improving the ability of farmers, ecosystems and
    governments to cope with climate change
  • Developing policies and incentives for
    multi-functional landscapes with trees that
    provide environmental services

World Agroforestry Centre, 2008.
Ever-green Revolution
The problem before us is how to feed billions of
new mouths over the next several decades and save
the rest of life at the same time, without being
trapped in a Faustian bargain that threatens
freedom from security. The benefits must come
from an evergreen revolution. The aim of this new
thrust is to lift food production well above the
level attained by the green revolution of the
1960s, using technology and regulatory policy
more advanced and even safer than now in
- Edward O. Wilson, 2002 The Future of life
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