The Acacia Project: Agroforestry as a weapon again desertification, poverty

The growth of deserts, mainly through deforestation, increased animal grazing, and climate change, has created greater food insecurity for some of the world’s most impoverished people. In Senegal, an innovative program funded by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is using native acacia trees as a weapon against expanding deserts and drylands… while also creating agricultural and economic opportunities.

The Acacia Project, launched in 2004, is pretty simple at one level: farmers in drylands are planting Acacia (gum) trees. This species was chosen not just because it’s native to the area, but also because it fixes nitrogen in the soil (thus restoring fertility), provides cover for crops such as groundnuts, sorghum, and millet, and even provides a product that these “agroforesters” can sell: the “gum” from the trees can be used in the pharmaceutical and food industries.

The video from the FAO above provides more detail about the program… and demonstrates how its improving the lives of families in Senegal in terms of food and economic security. Take a look, and let us know what you think…

via AlertNet and @GHGFreeSeattle