Climate-smart sustainable macadamia agroforestry to tackle economic and environmental challenges
Yoseph Araya1, Emmanuel Zuza2, Andrew Emmott3
1The Open University, School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences, United Kingdom
Our current global food system is understood to require a fundamental transformation based on a holistic approach to maintain long-term fertility, healthy biodiverse agroecosystems, and climate-proof/secure livelihoods. Recently, there has been a growing recognition of smallholder farmers' contributions to addressing key global environmental and social development issues (i.e., SDGs), including poverty, food security, climate change, and sustainable development. One specific approach is agroforestry-based agriculture, in which edible food and commercially important trees are grown on cropland, thereby improving the biodiversity of farming systems, enhancing agricultural productivity, and added benefits such as nutrition and financial stability not least climate resilience. In this context, we present lessons learned from an agroforestry system in Malawi. Malawi is the worlds 6th largest macadamia growing country, yet a country very much struggling with low productivity. The macadamia industry in our study involves smallholder farmer cooperatives interplanting macadamia nut trees with maize. Macadamia is a valuable nut prized for its oil and as food by supplementing farmers maize-based diet, during periods where other crops haven’t matured or supply is short. It also is a resilient crop against unpredictable weather, while providing good income after sales. In this paper, we review holistic advantages such as yield improvement, farmer perceptions, and challenges encountered. We provide insights into what works in designing a macadamia agroforestry scheme with finance plan in the form of payment for ecosystem services. Throughout the design we show how farmers share production data with cooperative and their ecosystem payment organising charity, as part of a collaborative effort. We finally draw lessons that could be used to other comparable programmes both in sub-Saharan Africa and worldwide.
Keywords: Macadamia, Malawi, payment for ecosystem services, small-holder farmers
Contact Address: Yoseph Araya, The Open University, School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences, Walton hall, MK76AA Milton keynes, United Kingdom, e-mail: yoseph.arayaopen.ac.uk