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Seychelles goes into agroforestry, merging food production with conservation

Victoria, Seychelles | May 11, 2016, Wednesday @ 09:42 in Environment » CONSERVATION | By: Sharon Meriton Jean and Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 3467
Seychelles goes into agroforestry, merging food production with conservation

Seven farms chosen as pilot projects for agroforestry on the Seychelles islands, Mahe and Praslin. (Seychelles News Agency)

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(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles could use its forests to provide food for its population, says a representative of the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).

FAO’s sub-regional representative Rene Czudek visited seven farms chosen as pilot projects for agroforestry on Mahe and Praslin, the two most populated island of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.

The farms are using different methods and models of the agroforestry type of farming that encourages farmers to grow trees amongst food crops.

The Food and Agricultural Organisation delegation during visits to farms on Praslin island.(Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

According to the United Nations, the world population is expected to reach 9.3 billion in 2050, and this will mean an increase by 60 percent in the world’s food needs. This is where agroforestry comes in, a system where trees are managed together with crops and animal production in an agricultural setting.

It's a system that Monette Nourrice, an officer of the Seychelles Ministry of Agriculture, says could reconcile the need for food production with that of conservation.

The Seychelles archipelago has over 90 percent of its land earmarked as protected areas.

“If it is well controlled it can reduce the impacts of invasive species such as cinnamon which is already causing a lot of harm to the forest while re-introducing spices and fruit trees that are beneficial to the population,” says Nourrice.

The Seychelles’ agroforestry project is part of the technical cooperation programme of the FAO, helping the government to address any gaps, and creating a catalyst for changes in the food production sector.

The agroforestry project is for two and half years and is financed by FAO for $300,000.(Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

“This is particularly adapted to Seychelles as it is a small island with limited agricultural land which is under pressure for development,” says Czudek.

Czudek says he is very satisfied with the initial work done on the selected farms.

The FAO technical team is also expected to provide training to local farmers in how to better choose their products and increase revenues through better market analysis.

The Seychelles’ agroforestry project is part of the technical cooperation programme of the FAO, helping the government to address any gaps, and creating a catalyst for changes in the food production sector. (Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

Having seen the results of the first year of the project, the technical team will now discuss legislations and policies that could facilitate this method of farming with Seychelles authorities.

The agroforestry project is for two and half years and is financed by FAO for $300,000.

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Tags: FAO, agroforestry, food production

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