Parklands are multifunctional landscapes that play a key role in the livelihood of rural people in the Sahel. Indeed, most of the food crops are produced on parklands’ fields, in particularcereals (maize, sorghum, millet), roots and tubers (yam, sweet potatoes, cassava); leguminous (cowpea, peanut, vouandzu) and vegetables (sorrel, okra, chili pepper, eggplant). Trees of parklands provide food, fodder, medicine, wood and several ecosystem services (soil conservation and fertility, biodiversity conservation, climate, water regulation etc.).
Despite the key role of parklands in the rural economy and food security, there is a general trend of a decrease in tree density due to changing circumstances (e.g., climatic, political, agricultural practices). The decrease in tree density results in a reduction of the efficacy (low soil fertility, reduction of crops and trees yields) and sustainability of these agroforestry systems. Much research efforts have focused on reversing the trend of reduced efficacy and sustainability of the Sahelian parkland systems. These scientific works have proposed different practices for improving crop, tree and livestock production in parklands. Unfortunately, most of them are still unknown by farmers or are difficult to implement due to national legislation.
The main objective of this pilot study is to enhance food security and alleviate poverty of Sahelian small-holder farmers through the adoption of best practices in agroforestry parkland management based on local and scientific knowledge. We aim to demonstrate the potential improvement in food production and incomes generation resulting from good agroforestry parklands management. To achieve this goal, a participatory evaluation (with research institute, universities, NGOs and farmers’ organization) of three cropping systems will be done in 90 fields of three sites in Burkina Faso: (1) parkland with tested best practices management, (2) parkland with traditional practices, and (3) a sole cropping system (without trees).
Researchers: Josias Sanou, Hugues R. Bazié, Martin Karlson and Jules Bayala
Host institution: Institut de l’Environnement et de Recherches Agricoles (INERA), Burkina Faso