Farming with trees, or agroforestry as it is known is a sustainable and productive land management method. Through the integration of trees, shrubs, palms and bamboos on farms and in the agricultural landscape, agroforestry can diversify and increase production. Agroforestry systems are considered especially helpful for smallholder farmers and other people living in rural areas because of the many economic, socio-cultural and environmental benefits. An agroforestry system can be established quickly and has proven its effectiveness during humanitarian crises by strengthening the livelihoods of displaced people. As agroforestry generates multiple co-products it allows for diverse income streams as well as diets, thus making the method particularly important for migrants and the food insecure. Even so, the linkages between migration and agroforestry practices have not been well studied.
In collaboration with the research network Focali, SIANI has facilitated a series of seminars that led to the establishment of the Swedish Agroforestry Network, which has become an important Swedish based forum to facilitate collaboration amongst different actors working with agroforestry.
”The Agroforestry Network has made it easier for us to share the work we are doing in Eastern Africa. It also allows us to highlight research areas with knowledge gaps and give input to future briefs and position papers. Furthermore, the network provides publications about agroforestry that we can lean on in our partnerships and dialogues,” says Lena Martens Karmelid, Regional Director of Vi Agroforestry in Eastern Africa.
The network has made it possible to assemble knowledge on agroforestry and how one can link it to the Sustainable Development Goals and other current topics such as migration. A brief on agroforestry and migration was prepared by the network for a well-attended SIANI seminar in Almedalen 2019, including Sida’s Director General as well as representatives from the World Food Programme, Vi Agroforestry and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The seminar highlighted migration as a positive force for rural development and has resulted in initial dialogues and cooperation between IFAD and the regional Vi Agroforestry office in Kenya. After the seminar SIANI and the Swedish Agroforestry Network were invited by UNDP to organize a side event on the same topic and present the brief during the UNs’ High-Level Political Forum in New York in July 2019.
“SIANI is good at bringing relevant topics to the table and it was SIANI that suggested to have a brief with focus on migration and agroforestry. Additionally, the brief was so widely shared at the High-Level Political Forum thanks to SIANI and their communication,” says Maria Schultz, former Director of Vi Agroforestry.
Through SIANI the Swedish Agroforestry Network, the Swedish Government, Vi Agroforestry, World Agroforestry, FAO, CIFOR and others co-organized a side event at the Committee of Global Food Security (CFS) about agroforestry as a pathway to the Sustainable Development Goal 2. The event provided a space for an interactive multi-stakeholder discussion about opportunities and challenges to scale-up agroforestry, after which SIANI and Vi Agroforestry were invited to meet with the Ewald Rametsteiner, Deputy Director for the Forest department of FAO. During the meeting future collaboration was established between the Vi Agroforestry office in Uganda, FAO and the World Bank, focusing on the situation of displaced people and natural resource degradation in refugee hosting areas of northern Uganda.