Regreening Agriculture

Regreening refers to the action of growing trees, shrubs and green manure mainly to restore degraded land. The concept is not new and this is what is happening with the ICRAF Africa Regreening project. While it might be relatively ease to Regreen vast areas of abandoned degraded land, it is much difficult to Regreen small holder farms because there more complex technical and socio-economic factors to consider.

The Regreening Agriculture we are proposing aims at supplying soil with organic matter from trees and shrubs grown at farm level in a specific design that does not affect negatively the crop production. In our context, this design consists of hedgerows of trees (each 30 cm) and shrubs (each 5-10 m) along contour lines. The contour lines are made up with highly biomass production and coppicing species that will be periodically pruned and supply biomass to the soil. The hedgerows will also produce fuel wood and livestock fodder. This will release pressure on crop residues as fuel wood and livestock fodder on the benefit of soil.

In our model we do not promote compost for two reasons:

1. We do not have enough biomass to compost we are rather in shortage supply.
2. Compost making requires a lot of work while it is used on localised hole.

We dot promote green manure because the experience has shown that it is not adopted by farmers mainly because it has a cost of production without a direct return to the farmer. Therefore, all projects that has introduced green manure, the green manure production has not gone beyond the project life span.

What are we promoting then?

Our Regreening for a Regenerative Agriculture promotes mulching, Minimum tillage and crop rotation.

Why mulching?
We promote mulching because we believe that it is an efficient way of using limited biomass compare to compost. More importantly, we promote mulching because with mulching it is every cm 2 of soil that is regenerated with help of soil organism decomposing the mulching materials.

Why Minimum soil disturbance?
Minimum soil tillage is less destructive of soil organic matter and soil micro-organism soil benefit such as the mycelium and bacterial.

Why Crop Rotation?
Crop rotation/crop diversification is important for Physical, chemical and biological soil properties regeneration and therefore to crop sustainable productivity.

Our Regreening for Regenerative Agriculture is based on the integration of Agroforestry and Conservation Agriculture (production and efficient use of biomass) for Crop and Livestock Sustainable Productivity.

Regreening for Regenerative Agriculture would not be enough in the context climate change is farmers are to risk their production due to extreme climate change events.