By Duncan Mboyah

Scientists at the Nairobi based World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) have called for integrated and long term investments in Africa’s dryland restoration.

Phosiso Sola, scientist, natural resource governance and bioenergy at ICRAF said that the investments should go beyond the scope and duration of projects.

“Access to inputs, including tree genetic resources, technologies and finances are crucial incentive and enabler for implementing dryland restoration,” Sola said in a statement.

Sola urged governments and donors to involve farmers in the projects they undertake for increased adoption and scaling.

She added that the interventions should be supported by a community based advisory system such as farmer-to-farmer extension to facilitate access to information.

“This calls for public-private partnerships that can catalyze technological innovations, leverage resources, help people learn, engage and increase technology adoption to scale up beyond a project’s target landscape,” she added.

Sola called for the selection of the right mix of environmental, agronomic, economic and institutional options to address and target the drivers of degradation.

Niguse Hagazi, research management coordinator for ICRAF in Ethiopia recommended adoption of improved grazing management to transform overgrazed pastures into grasslands.

“Smallholder farmers should be encouraged to adopt zero grazing plus a cut and carry system for animals at home to enable them begin cattle fattening and dairy production,” he added.

The scientists said that dry lands in the Sahel and Horn of Africa suffer from reduced agricultural productivity, food and nutrition insecurity, declining resilience to climate variability, social and political instability and human migration.

They called for the promotion of the use of terracing, contour ridging, gully reclamation, check and sand dams, tree planting, reseeding grasses and farmer managed natural regeneration in rehabilitating the farms.

“There is need to encourage farmers to form and join farmer organizations to ensure they access extension services,” the scientists added.