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A. Castro1, K. Tehelen1,2, J. Rubiano2, L. Alvarez-Welchez3, E. Barrios4, E. Amézquita, M. Ayarza5, E. García6 and I.M. Ra...
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Poster22: Quesungual slash & mulch agroforestry systems and eco-efficient philosophy of life

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Poster22: Quesungual slash & mulch agroforestry systems and eco-efficient philosophy of life

  1. 1. A. Castro1, K. Tehelen1,2, J. Rubiano2, L. Alvarez-Welchez3, E. Barrios4, E. Amézquita, M. Ayarza5, E. García6 and I.M. Rao1 Consortium for the Integrated Management of Soils in Central America (1)CIAT-Colombia; (2)Challenge Program on Water and Food; (3)FAO-Honduras; (4)ICRAF; (5)CORPOICA, Colombia; (6)CIAT-Honduras Inappropriate use of resources Efficient use and conservation of resources Soil degradation Regeneration of forests Food insecurity Food security & Surpluses Poverty Diversification & Income Negative effects on the environment Community welfare Positive ecological footprint Quezungual is the name of an ancient rural village in The answer is the widespread adoption of the From 2005 to 2007 CIAT and its partners in Central southwest Honduras, Central America. The village’s America conducted research activities that confirmed name is drawn from three indigenous words that mean the eco-efficiency of QSMAS through the efficient use soil, vegetation, and convergence of streams. and conservation of resources, defined the four key principles behind its agronomical success and identified Although today the steep slopes surrounding QSMAS was developed as an option to improve the potential areas for its adaptation. However, some Quezungual are peppered with tall trees and produce resilience and productivity of smallholder systems in sub- doubts remained about its potential for acceptance and bountiful crops, just two decades ago the region was humid hillsides of western Honduras, Central America. dissemination in other similar areas. suffering from a long period The main objective of this The system had to be a suitable alternative to the of inappropriate agricultural study was to identify the traditional slash and burn (SB) agriculture, which can lead practices that had resulted factors that have favored the to land degradation if growing population pressure reduces in loss of forest cover and adoption of QSMAS in the fallow period needed for recovery of natural resources. soil degradation leading to Honduras, to use this Therefore, the development of QSMAS implied the close declining crop yields. information to facilitate collaboration of farmers and organizations that were How did such change committed to improve food security and protect natural developing and implementing come about? forest and water resources in the region. adoption pathways for the system in similar regions. (based on semi-structured interviews and the River of Life method applied to farmers, technicians and local authorities) Slash and burn agriculture Quesungual Slash and Mulch Agroforestry System •Subsistence agriculture with no traditional production technologies • Agriculture based on principles (no slash and burn, permanent soil cover, minimal •Shifting cultivation (rotations every 1 to 3 years) disturbance of soil, and efficient use of fertilizers) • Rotation every 10 to 12 years 1980’s 1990’s 2000’s Food insecurity Arrival of El Niño Hurricane Incentives Referendum 1st National Environment On-farm Community organized, emergency institutions drought Mitch against against Prize of the protection participatory access to credit, (1992) (1992) (1997) (1998) burning burning Green incorporated research reforestation projects, (1999) (2001) Municipality in high school (2003-2007) training to foreign curriculum farmers and Institutions: CRS • FAO • CARE • Religious Development of QSMAS: technicians on QSMAS Extensive land Accelerated QSMAS (present day) congregations • Local authorities • Local committees •Field trips & exchange of degradation and two adoption due to its for development, management of water, etc. experiences Quantification of years of erratic resilience to this •Design of QSMAS by integrating natural events Collective biophysical and precipitation Common message: local practices & improved socioeconomic benefits, no more use of slash & burn agriculture Facilitated action of technologies present and introduction of new Capacity building: Family & house • Organization elimination of •Evaluation, adjustments and future technologies (improved • Micro-credit • Organic agriculture • Integrated pest slash and burn dissemination of QSMAS generations pastures, optimization of management • Environment • Human rights, etc. agriculture •Introduction of improved varieties fertilization) “We were leaving our landscape like a •Initial acceptance of QSMAS in Honduras desert…”. A. Díaz, farmer was mainly due to: (1) the importance of agriculture for subsistence; (2) the level of “Once convinced we had identified the soil degradation; and (3) the dependence problem we came into a win-win alliance on a gradually more erratic precipitation. against it. Everybody helped. This was a learning alliance of many”. L. Alvarez- •Adoption of QSMAS in Honduras was Wélchez, FAO facilitated by: (1) access to credit and markets for inputs and sale of surpluses; “Our leaders received training to start the (2) capacity building on the new set of process, because we knew one day we had technological options; and (3) collective to stop practicing slash and burn action of communities and institutions. agriculture”. J.M. Bonilla, Professor Extrapolation Domain Analysis for QSMAS: bivariate map showing potential areas for implementation of QSMAS •The validation and initial dissemination of “The process doesn’t have a name or a across the Pan tropical world (performed combining Bayesian and frequentist statistical models) QSMAS requires at least 3 years. Short term lastname. The protagonists are all the positive effects experienced by farmers in organizations and the town, from the sub-humid regions as the ones identified in beginning to the very end, the the extrapolation analysis are key for the congregations, the community, the local diffusion of QSMAS in new communities. authorities, we all played a role to impulse the process. We all collaborated”. •There are not reports of disadoption of Farmers from south-western Honduras. the system. Acknowledgements: This was a complementary study of the project ‘PN15: Quesungual Slash and Mulch Agroforestry System (QSMAS): Improving crop Eco-Efficient water productivity, food security and resource quality in the sub-humid tropics’, both funded by the Challenge Program on Water and Food of CGIAR. Agriculture Research results mentioned here correspond to activities co-executed by CIAT; MIS consortium (Central America); National University of Colombia for the Poor (Palmira); and CPWF. We thank the CIAT staff in Honduras, and the CPWF and TSBF staff in Colombia for their contributions to this work.

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