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Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Post
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Agroforestry congress asks researchers to up their game

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Thu, February 13, 2014 | 04:38 pm

Experts attending the World Congress on Agroforestry in New Delhi, India, are calling on agroforestry researchers to improve cooperation with governments, farmers and development partners.

'€œIt'€™s a fact that as policymakers we have failed in bridging the gap between the researchers and farmers,'€ Shri Krishna Byre Gowda, the agriculture minister of Karnataka State in South West India, told the congress.

He said scientists, farmers, donors, policymakers and agroforestry product traders had been working in isolated groups, making it difficult to complete the value chain.

'€œWe have allowed the private sector to take the poor farmers for a ride,'€ Gowda said.

He observed that researchers had already developed solutions to some of the existing problems, however, many governments thought that they had the capacity to do everything for farmers.

World Agroforestry Centre (WAC) director general Tony Simons noted that the agroforestry business case would only thrive in places where there was a coalition of actors who worked together to share information, risks and profits.

'€œMore needs to be done in the development of value chains for agroforestry tree products because domestic consumption will not make the farmers rich,'€ Simons said.

He added that greater dialogue was needed between policymakers and the private sector, multinational corporations, aggregators, traders and producers to create and exploit an enabling business environment.

WAC scientists are working together with large multinational food companies to bring Allanblackia, an oil producing tree that grows in some parts of Africa, into widespread production.

According to the scientists, Allanblackia oil is superior to that produced from oil palm. The tree is also said to have been kind to the African environment. (ebf)