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Project Context

The challenges that face agriculture currently, and in the future are immense. The global population is set to increase from its current 7.2 billion to between 9.6 – 10.9 billion by 2100 (Gerland et al., 2014). To meet this demand, global food production must increase by 60% (FAO et al., 2013). As global incomes rise, so too do patterns of consumption change, meaning that the consumption of resource intensive goods will also increase (Brown, 2012). As this occurs, competition for already scarce resources will increase, putting increased pressure on food security (Campbell et al., 2014). Over half of the expected population growth is expected to occur in Africa, where declining resources, such as land and water, are already an issue (Campbell et al., 2014; United Nations, 2015).

 

All of these challenges will occur in the context of climate change, which will have significant negative impacts on human and natural systems (Ibid). The earth’s changing climate has caused significant impacts on natural and human systems on all continents and across oceans (IPCC, 2014). Since the early 1980s, climate change is estimated to have reduced global yields of maize and wheat yields by 3.8 and 5.5%, respectively (Campbell et al., 2014). Jones & Thornton (2003) claim that the aggregate production impacts of possible future climate changes to 2055 on smallholder rain-fed maize production in Latin America and Africa could be as high as a 10 per cent decrease (Jones & Thornton, 2003).

In many developing countries, and indeed globally, much attention and investment is now focused on Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA), which seeks to ensure the food security of our planets increasing population, while simultaneously adapting to the Earths changing climate (Adaptation) and reducing Greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) (Mitigation) (Harvey et al., 2014).

The CSA approach is intended to identify and operationalize sustainable agricultural development within the context of climate change, and is expected to strengthen livelihoods and food security, with special emphasis on smallholder and poor farmers (FAO, 2013). Agroforestry is a sustainable land management practice that could offer both adaptation and mitigation benefits (Campbell et al., 2014; Franzel et al., 2001; Nair, 1993; Pye-Smith, 2008). The adoption of agroforestry technologies can help to maintain soil cover, improve soil nutrient levels, prevent soil erosion, increase soil organic matter, improve water filtration, and provide sources of food, fodder, fibre and fuel, while increasing livelihood resilience and food security (Sileshi et al., 2012; Stavi & Lal, 2013; Verchot et al., 2007)..

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