Great news from West Africa! On August 19, 2021, Water and Energy for Food (WE4F), in partnership with the University Jean Lorougnon Guédé of Daloa, launched the Innovative Technique for the Improvement of the Production of Agroforestry Systems in Côte d’Ivoire (SAFIR) project.
The ceremonial launch brought together many important stakeholders: the administrative authorities of the Daloa locality, the University of Daloa’s President, the teachers of the Interdisciplinary Research Group in Landscape Ecology and Environment (GRIEPE), students, and four cooperatives representing 1,025 small producers and local residents.
The international debate shows that agroforestry is becoming increasingly important as a model of sustainable food production in a world of climate change. The partnership with UJLoG is focusing on making agroforestry a common technique in the Agriculture of Côte d’Ivoire, a technique being completely in alignment with what our program aims for. Not only WE4F promotes climate, environmental resilience and biodiversity through the sustainable, holistic management of natural resources and ecosystems, which agroforestry as an innovative technique is allowing, but the program also seeks for partners interested in creating climate-resilient solutions and developing business ecosystems that will withstand the impact of climate change.
In the context of the partnership by WE4F and the University of Daloa, a four hectares demonstration site will serve as a learning site for agroforestry best practices and solar powered irrigation for about the 7,000 students who attend the University of Daloa and the 37 cooperatives in the Haut-Sassandra Region, representing about 5,600 members. The site combines many different plants and trees to improve soil fertility, biodiversity, and store carbon, all of which is important for climate change adaptation and resilience. It will be filled with cocoa, coffee, and cashews, trees of mango, iroko, fraké, kapo and mangos, and crops of plantain, cassava, taro, yam, and corn. The site will also be divided into sub-plots dedicated to other crops; corridors of varying sizes will be used for growing vegetables such as bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, cabbage, and chilies.
Since the Grenier Region of Côte d’Ivoire has such high agricultural potential, adoption of agroforestry by the 37 agricultural cooperatives will contribute to the optimization and sustainability of regional agricultural production. Finally, it is important to mention that this project represents a major challenge for the Ivorian Ministry of State and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The SAFIR project contributes to the goals of the national agricultural policy by promoting food sovereignty and the sustainable management of cash and export crops.
Besides reaching out and raising interest for agroforestry among students, the partnership also aims to raise interest by the surrounding farmers and entrepreneurs. Through the demonstration of this innovative technique, local companies are encouraged to create green businesses, backed by sustainable profit models to increase food production in the long term. In the end, agroforestry leads to sustainability on every level in agricultural value chains.
“PEEPA/WE4F is showing its support for the sustainable production of agri-food products as well as for the preservation of nature through its contribution to the implementation of a demonstration project of agroforestry techniques integrating a solar irrigation system and promoting good agricultural practices in this period of galloping deforestation. We dare to hope for an effective appropriation of this revolutionary agricultural technique by the 37 agricultural cooperatives identified within the framework of this project and more specifically in the western zone of the country which is considered as the granary of Côte d’Ivoire’’.
Hannah Zander – Technical Advisor of the WE4F project, West Africa Regional Innovation Hub