Silvopastoral systems are animal production systems that combine fodder plants, such as grasses and leguminous herbs, with shrubs and trees for animal nutrition and complementary uses (Mahecha & Angulo, 2011). Well designed and implemented agroforestry systems provides leverage points to alleviating poverty, providing food security and livelihoods, maintaining healthy ecosystems, conserving biodiversity and mitigating greenhouse gas effects through carbon sequestration. Despite many projects to encourage its implementation, including payments for ecosystem services, the adoption of agroforestry systems is still slow. Moreover, there is no general consensus on the most relevant predictors for the adoption of agroforestry because, among other reasons, the type of agroforestry practice has an important influence. There are few studies that analyze silvopasture adoption, and very few which model the level of adoption beyond the commonly used binomial variable of adoption and non-adoption (Zabala, García-barrios, 2014).
Agroforestry technologies and practices offer an alternative solution to resource-constrained smallholder farmers. Over the last two decades, interest has grown on agroforestry. However, further research is needed on developing a better understanding of adoption uncertainty and insights into how and why farmers adopt and modify adopted systems(Mercer, 2004). According to the common reason that led to adoption failure was inadequate attention given to socio-economic factors in the design and development of agroforestry systems’ projects (McNeely & Schroth, 2006). This led to a significant failure of many early agroforestry projects because they were not anchored on producing financial benefits for the farmers (Current & Scherr, 1995).
In recent years, livestock production has received negative publicity due to environmental degradation. Critics charge that the expansion of cattle production around the world has destroyed the forest, increased soil erosion, and has contaminated the environment (Mahecha & Angulo, 2011). These negative effects have been caused by poor decisions in the production system. Nevertheless, there are possible solutions.
Given ongoing climate change, fears of environmental contamination, and global market competition, silvopastoral systems emerge as a valuable alternative to develop an economic, productive, and environmentally-friendly system for livestock rising in the world (Mahecha & Angulo, 2011).Therefore this study intends to assess farmers’ adoption of silvopastoral systems and its impact on farmers’ livelihoods.
- Teacher: Emmanuel KABANDA KAGIRANEZA