The Case for Evergreen Agriculture in Africa: Enhancing Food Security with Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in Zambia

"Since the mid-1990s, Zambia’s Conservation Farming Unit (CFU) and the World Agro-forestry Centre have been pioneering “evergreen agriculture” solutions to address these perennial problems. Evergreen agriculture is defined as the integration of particular tree species into annual food crop systems. By sustaining a green cover on the land throughout the year, the intercropped trees: maintain vegetative soil cover; bolster nutrient supply through nitrogen fixing and nutrient cycling; generate greater quantities of soil organic matter; improve soil structure and water infiltration; produce additional food, fodder, fibre and income; enhance carbon storage both above and below ground; and allow more effective conservation of above- and belowground biodiversity. This brief discusses two evergreen agriculture farming systems being used in Zambia: maize agroforestry and conservation agriculture with trees. Both of these systems tackle the need to replenish soils in affordable ways using natural fertilisers – in short, re-employing age-old indigenous knowledge practices."