Demonstrating the Benefits of Agroforestry Practices on Family Farms
Farming on highly erodible land is adversely affecting our water resources due to erosion. Farmland in this area of Puerto Rico is quickly depleted of its nutrients and becomes eroded. Sustainability of agriculture in land like this must include agroforestry practices. We will conduct workshops on compost production and demonstrate conservation practices focused on agroforestry techniques.
Farmers are reluctant to plant trees on their farms for several reasons. Desirable trees for agroforestry are common in the forest, but are not available commercially. Tree propagation techniques are unknown to most farmers and tropical shade crops that, in the past, formed part of the production system in the mountains have fallen out of favor as higher input agriculture has been adopted. Our project will address these issues.
Demonstration workshops for farmers will include cooperators from government agencies to disseminate information about the benefits of trees and the commercial possibilities for agroforestry products. Trees can be produced by farmers using the techniques learned in this project. The inclusion of agroforestry in farming operations on highly erodible land can help make agriculture sustainable in tropical mountains.